Rosie had not expected to paint. She wanted to teach Haitian children to speak English. That’s what she hoped she would do when she signed up for a trip with Haiti Outreach through the St. Luke Presbyterian Youth Group in Minnetonka, MN. In the pictures from previous trips, the children looked so adorable and cute that she was hoping to work with them.
Yet here she was, painting a wall yellow and not even a quiet yellow like they might use in Minnesota. She was painting the whole side of the building bright yellow – bright as a lemon. Still, she realized she could be on the other work crew, which was shoveling sand, mixing cement, and hauling it into the building. She could paint. Even lemon yellow.
When she asked the leader of her group when she would get a chance to teach Haitian children English, he said that they had to have a school building before they could have school. And that was the great gift the youth group from St. Luke was giving: finishing the school building. Sad to say, he continued, Rosie might not get her chance to teach because the classes would start only when the school building was complete, and that wouldn’t be for several days. Their group would be back in Minnesota by then.
As she returned to the school the following day, she knew there would be another day of painting the walls lemon yellow, and her shirt, shorts and sandals were now a lemon yellow too. But instead of a quiet construction site, her work group found a party!
Even though the building wasn’t complete, the students and the teachers were so eager to begin classes, they had moved in early and were busy learning loudly and joyfully. Rosie’s leader released her from paint duty. Within a few minutes she had gathered a small circle of children in the shade of a really yellow wall, to teach them to count, say, “My name is…” and sing Old McDonald.