Day 2

It’s 7:10 am. I’ve been awake since before 6. This is not right. This is the result of the time change-hosting a class combo. Ugh. I’m tired.

So it’s day two of the first class. Chris is doing really well with teaching. I think he’s gotten his teacher legs back quickly despite the fact that it’s not his favorite thing to do. He would much rather be playing with something greasy and engine related. The class has been good for the most part. We have 14 students and most of them seem to be very interested in what they are learning which is very encouraging for us.

Some of the men in the training class learning how to sift the sand and gravel.

When I was out in the yard with everyone yesterday taking pictures and just observing how things were going we did have an incident with one student. We’ve already decided he won’t be getting his diploma because he planned to go run an errand one day this week?!?! I’m not sure how he expected to get a full certification by missing one full day of a five day training. Most people here would say, “Li pense li yon gwo moun.” He thinks he’s a big man. He tried to exercise this when he asked Jean to go buy him a phone card right in the middle of Jean teaching the practical part of the workshop. Respect for your elders is a big part of culture here so Jean looked at him, and not wanting to offend him, decided to call one of our other workers to go get it, just as three other men in the class held up money for cards. That was when I stepped in and said:

“Eh eh (a no sound), ou pa mande travaye nou pou fe bagay pou ou! Yo travay pou mission la, pa pou moun nan class la. Si ou bezwen yon bagay ou mande Chris ou mwen et nou decide si travaye nou fe sa pou ou! Si ou vle carte pou telephone ou, ou kap cheche yo apre class fini pou jour la.”

“Uh uh, you don’t ask our workers to do something for you! They work for the mission, not for people in the class. If you need anything you ask Chris or me and we decide if our workers will do it for you! If you want phone cards you can go look for them after class is finished for the day.”

Apparently my Creole is getting better.

I have very little patience for people inappropriately pushing their weight (or the weight they think they have) around and treating our employees like they’re servants. Chris and I try to treat our workers well and with a lot of respect. Interestingly enough this is often something we encounter on the first day of a training. There is a lot of limit pushing and boundaries need to be made very clear. It’s really very childlike, and sad at the same time. Haiti is a country full of people that don’t feel valued, so they try to demand that whenever possible.

I learned something else about cultural differences too. In Haiti when you serve a meal to a group of people they will often wait to be served. In Canada we feel it’s polite to let everyone take their own food, starting with our guests, or we make it like a buffet and it’s just understood that people will go through and take their food. The first day or so of training often involves a lot of telling people that they can get up and serve themselves rather than wait for Chris and I to do the serving. We asked Yonese about this the other night and it is a politeness issue. I think some of it roots from making sure everyone gets some and gets the same amount as everyone else. In a country where people don’t generally get one full meal a day it makes sense.

Last night I shared my shower with a baby lizard. I think it was one of the ones that hatched from the eggs we found in the electrical socket. We saw it’s twin on the inside of the roof last night too. I’m not a really big fan of sharing a shower with reptiles. It was only the size of my pinkie finger, if that, but that is still too big. I mean, I could step on it, or worse yet, it could run up my leg or something. Blahh! Just thinking about it gives me the heebie geebies.

Time to go grab a good hearty breakfast of spaghetti and salad. Yeah, no joke.

This entry was posted in this is haiti, this is life by Leslie. Bookmark the permalink.

About Leslie

I'm Leslie. Wife. Mother. Missionary. In the day to day my husband and I are responsible for running Clean Water for Haiti, a humanitarian mission that builds and distributes water filters to Haitian families. Living in Haiti full time provides lots of stories, and as I tell my husband, our grandkids probably won't believe most of them. Maybe writing them down will give me some credibility.

3 thoughts on “Day 2

  1. I’m curious to know how the men reacted to your reprimand. Do they have trouble taking direction from a woman there?
    I sure hope those lizards eat all the other crawlie things, then find another home to live in, before the 28th! :-)

  2. Doesn’t it make them more into your servants to have all their actions go through you? I mean, I understand the whole thing of it’s tough/impossible for JR to say “no” because it’s an elder and cuz Jean can be accused of putting himself above the others, so you have to be in place for that, but it’s tough still, cuz it ends up sounding like “if you want to borrow him, you have to ask his boss” (I’ll refrain from saying master, although people with chips on their shoulders might even hear that, which would be really bad.)

    Ugh, life is complicated. I wonder if you could have just have said the “dude, it’s class time!” bit?

    Of course, it is much easier to pick faults when sitting in pajamas and drinking tea without sweating, so whatever.

    I’m totally impressed with your creole though, that is so great! (Although, I do think that you are using “c” where you should be using “k”, I think the rule that says that is stupid because it makes it harder for french people to read. But, until they change it, the rule is : klass & kat.

    Oy, I’m really bossy today. I’m sorry. There is much studying for language exams (and thus much correcting ) going on here. I’m so grateful for LE PATRON, I can’t even tell you.

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