In Haiti, as in the US sometimes, folks have a wake to remember their loved one, tell stories, celebrate their life with us. Friday night we gathered in the courtyard of St Vincent's with all of the residents, many of the staff, as well as many in the deaf community from outside St Vincent's. Sonya had given me a collection of photos of JoJo, including a CD. This CD became the slide show backdrop for the celebration. Children and adults alike kept looking at these photos as they read prayers from the Prayer Book, some tearing up as they spoke about their lives with JoJo.
Pere Fan Fan asked me to say a few words on behalf of the Friends of St Vincents and others, and I include my brief comments below. Clauricianne helped me translate my words into Kreyol so I could speak first in Kreyol and then in English, with Sherye signing for the many deaf in the audience.
PIcture a darkening concrete courtyard, under a canvas covering, with JoJo's photos projected on the concrete wall to one side of the audience. Men working on connecting a light bulb to the canvas covering, throughout the celebration, as the evening got darker and darker. No light ever came on, but they continued to work diligently . At one point the power went out and even the light from the projector went out. I'm not sure the deaf could actually SEE Sherye interpreting for them, but no matter. It was very touching to be part of this remembrance for "Msr Joseph Jean Paul".
Sherye and I are very happy to be here with all of you today. We bring the hearts of our friends in the US and Canada who could not be here today.
Hope with Friends of St Vincent's
Pere Drew with West Tennessee Haiti Partnership
Sonya who sent the photos of JoJo
Sam with 100 Gardens
Tom with Jacob's Color Link
Karen with Healing Hands Canada
All of us remember JoJo, and he was a friend to everyone who came to St VIncent's. He taught me many things about this school, about the children, about Haiti. I have 3 of his paintings in my house. Sherye also has 2 paintings in her house. He showed all of us how to live. How to be strong. How to have many friends. How to welcome the stranger. JoJo's friendship stays with us after he is gone. We will never forget JoJo.
Zanmi m'wen Sherye e mwen nou kontan icit la paske nou we tout moun jodi-a. Nou pote ke zanmi yo ki pa vini ici jodi-a.
Hope ak Friends of St Vincent's
Pere Drew ak West Tennessee Haiti Partnership
Sonya ki te voye fotos JoJo
Sam ak 100 Gardens
Tom ak Jacob's Color Link
Karen ak Healing Hands Canada