Summer Chores

Each time my team has traveled to either Morne Michel or Bois Jolie the residents of these towns have helped us transport our provisions up and down the mountains via mules. Usually what happens is they meet us where our driver drops us off and we load our food and water for the next day into the saddlebags of the mules they’ve brought. Then we all begin to walk up to whichever town we’re visiting. Us lugging our backpacks and the mules being followed (and occasionally pulled) by their owners. When we leave the next day, the same thing happens, but in reverse.

Last week the situation was different though. Instead of the Jeremy Leonel accompanying us and his mules back down from Bois Jolie like usual, it was some children. At first, I didn’t understand why there were kids following us out of town for so long. I thought maybe since they didn’t have school that day it was just something for them to do. As we all walked down, the kids talked and laughed with Francique and Ephesian and they all seemed quite excited to be there, so I didn’t think much more of it.

It wasn’t until about halfway down from Bois Jolie that it dawned on me that these kids weren’t just making the hike for the fun of it, but that they’d be the ones responsible for getting the mules back home. I thought that was awesome! I suddenly remembered many different instances when I was younger (and some from more recently too) in which I had wished my elders would trust me with a responsibility like this.

When we got to the end of the hike and had unloaded the mules, the kids watered them and then hopped on their backs to begin their return journey. As I watched them ride away I became envious. I’ve always gotten great satisfaction out of completing tasks, especially tasks with minimal supervision. Tasks where someone else trusts that you will get it done, without any oversight but your own. These kids have probably done this sort of things dozens of times and I bet if you asked them, they would describe what they were doing as a chore. But to me it looked kind of fun and gratifying. And based on some of the kids’ expressions, I think they thought so too.

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