by Kendall Munk
“Ready?” Stephanie asks me. I nod, pick up the basket of crayons, and begin the short journey down the center aisle. Flanked by 20 or so kids on benches, I move toward Maggie, who faces the class, and is just now winding up the first chicken presentation. Maggie, like me, is the new volunteer with Project Edeline. Unlike me, Maggie is a practicing classroom teacher from Oregon. Our assignment is to introduce chickens to the school. For now, passing out crayons is my first task, on my first morning, on my first day in Haiti. A day of firsts. Distributing crayons feels just about right. Will there be enough crayons for everyone to color in the outlined baby chick? “Good,” says Steph, handing over the crayons to our interpreter, taking my arm, and leading me out the doorway. We pass the office/nursing station/blue ice chest (where precious chilled water bottles are kept especially for our group), to an adjacent classroom where 25 plus faces all turn in unison to face me. “Your turn,” says Steph, nudging me forward. “Introduce yourself.” A quick hesitant breath, then I flap my wings and chicken strut down the center aisle, past the kids on benches to the front of the classroom. I am now winging it! Rochelle, my suddenly materialized interpreter, doesn’t miss a beat. We begin role playing. We act out happy vs. sad chickens. My intention is to make a connection between happy (healthy and stress free) hens and better egg production, versus unhappy and inverse. Time goes by too quickly. It is lunchtime for the kids. Rochelle and I pantomime happy chickens leading the chicks off to lunch.