By Kim Anderson
One of my goals during my last trip to Haiti was to snap a cute photo of my sponsored student (Lolo) with the goat his family had received from the WWV goat program. I have seen such adorable images of children carrying a small goat around their shoulders and I wanted to recreate that photo. One afternoon I set out to capture that photo with Lolo and his goat and what ensued was quite comical!
My first step was finding Lolo – that’s easy because he never strays far when we’re hosting our medical clinics – and can often be found on my lap. The next step was finding a goat – also easy since there were a few different goats right in Lolo’s yard across from the school in Williamson. The third and fourth steps – explaining to Lolo’s mom (without knowing Creole) what we were trying to accomplish AND catching the goat for the photo – were not quite as easy and ended in a lot of laughs!!
Not wanting to draw a translator away from the important work happening in the WWV mobile medical clinic, Natasha Miller and I set out to capture the photo. I grabbed Lolo and set off for his yard. Natasha and I spotted what appeared to be a young goat, small enough for the photo. As I entered Lolo’s yard I said to his mother, Marie (in my best Haitian Creole accent) “foto Lolo ak …………..” and then realized I couldn’t remember the word for goat. Not too long ago I wrote an article called “Kabrit, kabrit & more kabrit” about the WWV goat program. Unfortunately that word that I typed over and over would not pop into my head when I needed it!
Without knowing the word for goat, I decided my next best option was to bleat like a goat, so I said, “foto Lolo ak… meh-meh” bleating like a goat. Marie and her friend thought this was pretty funny, so they also started bleating like goats. Before long Marie, her Haitian friend, Natasha and I were all bleating like goats and laughing hysterically! I soon realized that I was definitely not communicating what I had hoped – think Tower of Babel!
I wisely decided that a translator would be a great help and grabbed Murvey from the medical clinic. Hearing what we were trying to accomplish, Reggie decided to join us, as well. So our two Haitian translators set out to catch the goat after explaining to Marie what we were hoping to accomplish in capturing a photo of Lolo and one of the goats his family had been given. Little did I know that catching a goat would be so difficult!
The first obstacle to overcome in catching the goat was luring it out of the cactus fence grown around Lolo’s yard (see photo above). Many Haitian families will grow cactus plants around their yard as a type of fence. Unfortunately those little goats can squeeze between the cactus plants much better than people! We finally realized we needed to scare the goat from the outside of the cactus fence so it would run into the yard for an easier catch.
Reggie was in charge of scaring the goat while Murvey took on the role of catching the goat. Once the goat was successfully scared out of the cactus fence, Murvey grabbed it. Now I had initially envisioned a photo of little 6-year old Lolo with a goat draped over his shoulders – similar to this photo. Looks easy enough, right?
It’s not quite as easy as I thought! As Murvey grabbed the goat, I didn’t just hear a “meh-meh.” I heard a…
The goat was not thrilled with being picked up and Murvey was struggling to get a handle on it. I soon realized that Lolo was not going to be able to carry this goat around his shoulders! We were going to be lucky to get any kind of photo! I quickly called Lolo so I could snap the photo and by this time a crowd of Haitians had gathered around to watch the comical scene taking place — all for a photo of a goat!
Lolo grabbed his beloved soccer ball, and hesitantly stood by Murvey and the LOUD bleating goat. Then Reggie jumped in the photo along with two other children who had been standing by watching. In the end I did get a photo with Lolo’s sweet smile and one of the goats his family has been given through the WWV goat program. It wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, but that’s how life goes in Haiti! You’ve gotta just go with the flow.
If this gave you a good laugh today, consider giving a goat to a family in need in Haiti. I can even get a photo for you the next time I’m there!