Saturday, April 3, 2010
Oh to be Haitian!!!
Hey everyone! I really hope to make this a little more of a regular thing so that my notes aren't quite so long, but with a mix of my busy schedule and my habits of procrastination, it just might not happen! But we'll see.
So, I have definitely lived this week to the fullest I would say. It has been jammed packed, but full of good stuff! So, this week was a little more "quiet" than most. We didn't have any surgeries, and the staff that came ran the clinic all week long, and I actually didn't have to step in as a nurse to cover an open space...which was wonderful! Instead, I did my job, went to the staff meetings on time, left the clinic by 2 or 3pm each day, checked my email semi-regularly, and got to eat supper at a normal time. It's amazing how the small things make all the difference! So, with this week being a little more "quiet" I decided to try to get out as much as possible, and it worked! So, this note is just going to be me telling about me experiencing and falling in love with Haiti a little bit more:)
Last Saturday, well I guess I can't really complain, but I think it might come across that way! So, my plan for the day on Saturday was to have a down day and go to Cabaret to go to the market. However, as part of my job, I ended up going to the beach with one of the teams that was staying at the Mission of Hope. It ended up being a great day, but on my way home I noticed my lovely roommate (I really do love her!!!!) Leeann walking on the side of the road, coming home from the local village. Right away I called her and heard about all of her adventures from that day that I had missed, visiting some friend's houses, cutting down palm tree branches, riding in a tap-tap, etc. (Just so you all know, the two things I was most excited about when I moved to Haiti was 1 - getting a Haitian cell phone, and 2 - riding in a tap-tap). So, I was so bummed that I had missed out. But, the next day after church we all planned to tap-tap it in to Cabaret for lunch...and never in my life have I been so happy (I may be exaggerating, but only slightly!). There's a pic to prove it too! So, Sunday was wonderful! Haitian church, tap-tap, lunch of goat at Yolty's, hanging out at my friend's house, it was just perfect. Minus the fact that all three of us white girls hit our heads while getting out of the tap-tap...that was semi-embarrassing, but I'm kind of used to it by now!
The week proceeded pretty normally, a couple of crazy emergency cases came to the clinic, like a man that probably ended up having his leg amputated since it was only hanging on by some skin on the back (sorry...was that too much information?!?!). When Thursday came around I was so glad to find out that for Easter everything closes at noon on the Thursday and then no one works Friday - Hallelujah!!! However, that rule didn't apply to us North American staff for some reason...so I ended up leading our medical team in some hard-core manual labour. It was wonderful...ahem. This Monday we are starting something big with orthopedic surgery again, a new prosthetic's lab, a new hospital ward in a building that isn't quite complete, and on top of all of this, school is starting up here, so all of the medical supplies that we had stored in some of the classrooms had to be moved...somewhere. So that was our job Thursday and Friday, and it took us the whole time, and we still weren't finished! I have not worked that hard in a long time, but it was so good, and I felt good seeing what was accomplished, and then best of all, I slept so good! I crashed hard, so hard that apparently I was talking in my sleep all night!
Friday, since the work we did was so intense, we finished our last load around 3pm and I got the opportunity to visit a friend in Source Matelas, one of the local villages. Billy and Nathalie are the cutest married couple EVER, and Nathalie had made some rice and fish (being Easter and all), and had invited me to go and eat at about 10am...but I didn't make it until 4pm. I guess that's Haitian time?!?! So, me and Leeann tap-tapped it (yes, again!!) to her house, had a lovely meal, then walked to see her new house that Billy is building, and then went to visit Billy's parents as well. It's funny how much I enjoy just daily life things right now. I guess it's because it's all new to me, but even just walking down the road in the late afternoon, singing songs, joking, eating ice cream, its just so fun and relaxing. That's what friends do...simple things in life. Simple. Oh, and just to top the night off, we had some ice cream at GPP (the local restaurant) and then rode home on motorcycles...yes. That's what I said! You can ride a tap-tap, or they have guys that will take you on bikes - a little more expensive yes, but so worth it!!! Sigh...
Finally, I come to today. I worked in the morning trying to get some more medical supplies organized, ran around the mission a couple times, and then got to take off, yet again! We (Leeann and I with a couple of friends of ours from the mission and from the big city - Port-au-Prince) spent the afternoon at the Cabaret market, bought some mangoes, a Haitian broom, tried on sunglasses (no luck!), and a bunch of other stuff. We ate goat again...took our friends on a tap-tap for their first time (YAY!) and then ran into a very weird dancing group in the town centre. I'm not sure if it was a voodoo thing or not, but apparently they do this dancing kind of thing where they call down spirits, so at first when we didn't know what was happening we were all excited and watching intently. Then it got a little weird! They had all these instruments, drums, whistles, shakers, horns, and probably some other stuff, then a couple of guys had these whips made out of ropes, and they kind of danced/chased each other around. Then one guy ran up to us and put his hand out asking for money (all the white people) but when we didn't he left, but everyone started laughing. So, of course he did it again, and then the whole dancing team was right in front of us...and it was weird. The guys would like whip each other's feet and not flinch, and one of the interpreters said something about them calling down spirits...so that's when we were like, alright, lets go. So...interesting experiences!
On the way home Leeann and I got out early and visited some friends of ours that are interpreters at the mission, and hung out at their place for a mango party! I ended up unintentionally leading a mini VBS with 3 little girls that followed us into their yard. I would start a song with the minimal Creole words of a song that I could remember, then they would keep it going and teach me the rest of the words. It was hilarious! I had so much fun! Then we came home, and here I am now. I have had quite the week, and have absolutely LOVED being out in the villages and just living a semi-normal life with friends. I know I'm only seeing a tiny bit, but with each little taste I'm loving it more and more. Uh oh!