The weekend was actually a great one. There were people here working all day Saturday, which we don’t normally do, but because Otto is here we want to maximize his time, so work was done. We had a friend over for dinner that night which was a nice treat.
Sunday was the nicest Sunday I’ve had in a long time. It was so incredibly quiet around our house. Otto went to church with one of our workers. Chris and I stayed home and watched a movie – A Year of Living Dangerously. It’s an old Mel Gibson flick where he still talks in his Australian accent. It was really good. Anyone that’s worked in or is working in development will connect with it I think. I liked the beginning where Mel Gibson is walking through Indonesia on his first night in the country and the character narrating is talking about watching him process everything. He equates it to being like a child again and being able to take in “the laugher in the misery…” I’ve often felt that way living here, that I’ve had to start all over again and shape new thoughts on things and new ways of going about life. I sometimes wonder if I’m lacking compassion because I see things all around me and yet don’t fall apart. Then I realize that maybe it’s just my way of processing things, being able to see what people are living in, and yet see they can still experience joy and laughter in that. That I am comparing their life to my life at home and seeing all the things they might be lacking, and yet they don’t have the same comparisons because they are living in what they have always known.
Sunday afternoon was full of napping for everyone. I went down for a good hour or so. Not something I am usually able to do well, though I often wonder why Haiti doesn’t have a “siesta” time. It’s just so hot from noon to 4 or 5 pm that your brain literally shuts down. I wonder if it’s due to no power. I mean really, what can you do after dark when it’s cooler with no power?
Yesterday Chris and I went to Port so we could get Olivia’s second HIV test. She was such a trooper and only cried a bit when they stuck her. I think getting her vaccinations has been good practice for her. We should have the results of that in a couple weeks, or maybe sooner. If she’s negative again then we’re pretty much in the clear. GHESKIO, the clinic that we took her to is such a great place. The people there really know what they’re doing and they have a good system. We had an appointment so when we got there they ushered us right through and I think we were there for about 45 minutes total. If you’ve ever been to any appointment in Haiti, let alone any medical appointment, you’ll know this is super fast. We had allowed a couple of hours for it so we were happy to be done and on our way. To get to the clinic you have to drive down Route 1 National into what was a really bad part of town a couple years ago. It’s right down by the Port au Prince market. Every time we drive through there I’m struck with the number of people moving about their day in the midst of vegetables, garbage, animals, trucks, clothes… I kept forgetting to bring my camera with me until yesterday. The pictures aren’t amazing but they’ll give you an idea about market life here. On market day it’s the most nauseating place to be. Bodies crammed together trying to move in different directions at the same time amongst garbage and wares while your nose gets abused by a range of smells – things burning, things cooking, raw meat in the sun, body odor. It’s something you really have to experience first hand to understand fully.
We headed up the hill to get groceries after that and were successful in our efforts. We got excited to see that the entire dairy case was full. I realized as I was waiting at the deli yesterday that going to the deli in the store is one of my favorite things about grocery shopping here. I think it’s because having a deli with good selection, which Caribbean Supermarket does, makes me feel like I’m back home. It feels normal. It feels like I could be anywhere but where I am. Except that I’m placing my order in another language.
We both got hungry while we were shopping so we went to Epi D’or, a big bakery/restaurant in town. Chris got his usual chicken nuggets and fries and I got my usual crepe. We’re creatures of habit. I always tell myself that I should try something different, like a good sandwich or a slice of pizza, but then I go for the crepe. I think it’s because it’s a novelty thing for me. They’re the only place that I’ve seen selling crepes in town, and they’re super yummy if you like that kind of thing. The “supreme” crepe has cheese, ham, onions & peppers and then they put on this spicy melange (mix) of who knows what, then some ketchup and mustard and maybe a squirt of hot sauce. It gets folded and heated to melt everything together and then cut into bite size pieces. I realized that I love it because it’s spicy. I didn’t really appreciate spicy food until the last few years. I love that my esophagus has this warm sensation for about an hour after I finish. Mmmmm.
After lunch we did a few more errands and then it was home. Port always sucks the life out of you. Yesterday we had to take the blue beater, aka the Daihatsu. Several times yesterday Chris and I talked about the new van that the mission is getting. Now that June is not so far away and the possibility of delivery creeps closer we’re all getting excited. Last time Jean and I went to town he asked when it was coming because driving to Port always makes him tired. They’re fixing the roads, but it’s also the heat and the dust. We’re all excited about having a vehicle with air conditioning. Yesterday I was reminded about what a treat that’s going to be when I walked into the grocery store and found myself smiling because it was so cool. All through the day I was wishing I was wearing much less clothing because I was so sticky. And it’s only May. Sigh.
So, here we are into another week. I’m feeling tired from yesterday and kind of wondering what to do with myself. I know I should be doing data entry, but let’s face it, that’s no fun.
Hope you had a great Mother’s Day weekend.