The sun peeps over the mountains as Samuel, a boy in rural Haiti, opens his eyes. He stretches lazily and gets off his sleeping mat. Dust from the dirt floor clings to the mat as he rolls it up and puts it in the corner of the small room he shares with his family.
Using a tin cup, Samuel dips some water from the pail by the door and brushes his teeth. In Haiti, it is impolite to talk to anyone until you have brushed your teeth, not even to say, “BOH zhoo” (Good morning).
Samuel finds some coffee and bread on the table. His mother left it for him before she headed out to sweep the yard. He dips his bread into the coffee. The coffee is strong and sweet. What fruit do we have this morning? Samuel wonders next. Sometimes he has an orange, banana, mango, or tomato for breakfast.
After breakfast, Samuel is ready to play. He’s glad it’s Saturday, and he doesn’t have to go to school. But Samuel has to work before he plays. “Samuel, please gather some sticks to make a fire for our meal tonight,” his mother instructs as she comes in the door.
Wood is scarce, and it will take Samuel a while to gather enough. The best place to find sticks is at the creek about a mile and a half away. Today Samuel will take the donkey so he can also lug back some water. He swings the saddlebags onto the donkey’s back and places the empty water jugs in the pockets. He walks ahead of the donkey until he gets tired and then hops on the donkey for a ride.
At last Samuel is finished with his chores and runs off to play with his friends. “Let’s snap marbles,” his friend Frantz suggests. They scatter the marbles on the ground and then use their thumbs to flick the leader marble, trying to hit the scattered marbles.
After a while, more neighbor children come and one boy suggests they play soccer. This is their all-time favorite game. But today, no one can find even a small ball to kick around. Finally they settle for a tin can they find lying beside the road.
After a long time of playing soccer, Samuel’s stomach reminds him he hasn’t eaten since breakfast. It’s almost 4:00. All that play makes a boy hungry. I am hungry! Samuel thinks. It must be close to meal time.
Back home, he finds his mother stirring a big black pot over an open fire. She has been busily making millet, knowing her family would devour it after a long day in the warm sun. “It’ll be ready soon,” she tells Samuel.
When it gets dark, Samuel and his family soon go to bed, since the only light they have is a little oil lamp made from a tin can with a cotton wick. “BOH nweet!” (Good night!)
Many Haitian children don’t go to school because their parents can’t afford school supplies and tuition. If you would like to help children in Haiti, please choose from the options below.