Happy Mother’s Day…again

It’s Monday and there are things buzzing and grinding, again. We are getting so close to being ready to do the pour for the building. We’ve had to bump it a day to Wednesday, but that’s okay. 

Over the weekend Chris and I got a chance to go up on the building and walk around a bit. The view is really nice. It was fun for me to get a better feel of the amount of space up there and how the place will be laid out. We’re very excited about this building. The first floor is going to be great, but the apartment upstairs is going to be fabulous. It’s very exciting, even if it is tiring to be going through the process right now. And I’m basically just a bystander. 
On Saturday we had a bunch of our workers here to pour the columns and balcony support beam so that we could move ahead with other work today and tomorrow. The guys started at 6 am and were only going to work for half the day, but ended up being here until 3. The very BEST part of the day was when they actually poured the cement. We have a cement mixer on site which is great. The alternative is mixing it by hand. If you ever get a chance to watch people pour a roof or anything like that in Haiti it really is something to watch. They essentially get a bucket brigade going. One guy runs the cement mixer, another guy fills the buckets. One guy on each ladder. A few at the top to tamp down the cement. Then a few guys to run back and forth dropping off empty buckets and running full ones to the ladder guys. For some crazy reason the guys LOVE doing this. I have never seen them get so excited while working. They all start yelling, “Beton, beton!” which means “Cement, cement!” One of the newest hires, Pedro, was the most entertaining. He was a bucket runner and literally ran around for about half an hour with a huge grin on his face yelling, “Beton! Beton!” It was so fun to watch these guys truly enjoying themselves while doing something that is so hard and taxing. It was pretty inspiring and made me realize how much we can complain about the work we do, even the easiest tasks.
Yesterday was Haitian Mother’s Day. It’s kind of nice to be so appreciated as a mother that I get to celebrate twice ;) Chris was sick on Canadian/US Mother’s Day so he joked around about making me supper on Haitian Mother’s Day. Well, we ended up making plans to have friends over so that wasn’t going to pan out. The alternative was that he and Otto went down the road and got take out chicken for all of us on Saturday night. We haven’t had “spicy chicken” as we call it, in a long time. For $30 Haitian, less than $4 US you get two thigh-leg pieces cut up and a bunch of banan pese – fried plantain – with picklis, this onion and pepper mix. They put a yummy BBQ sauce on it and then this really spicy hot sauce. It was such a yummy treat. 
Yesterday Chris and I decided to go for a hike in the mountains just so we could get out and spend some time together as a family. I’ve been feeling really lethargic lately too, mostly because I haven’t been getting any exercise so it was a chance to do that. For anyone that doesn’t know my husband, he’s part human, part mountain goat. He’s the kind of person that looks up a mountain and sees a valley or really green area and says, “I want to go there.” I look at the same spot and want to turn around and go home. We’ve struck a healthy compromise in that he’s willing to stop frequently along the way, and I’m totally comfortable stopping when I’m done and sitting to enjoy the view while he goes on to his mark. We hadn’t hiked to this specific area before so it was a bit of an “I have no idea where I’m going to end up” adventure where we decided we would just hike until we were done, sit for a while, then turn around. Well. We hiked up the part of the trail that we’ve done frequently, then turned down the “road” that we hadn’t taken before. When you get into the mountains “roads” are basically donkey trails. We got to this little village and just walked through saying hello to people as we passed. We lost track of how many times we heard people ask us for our baby. For some reason this is really funny here, and people always say it like they’re the first person to think of it. And not just once, they repeat it and repeat it and repeat it. And then you get the people that say, “Hey blan, want to take my baby?” And again, they’re saying like it’s funny. Things I will never understand about this place I guess. So, after having everyone in the village make jokes about taking our baby we kept following the trail. 
A word to the wise, when an entire village is yelling, “You’re lost, you’re lost!” it might be a good thing to listen to them, even if you know they don’t know where you want to go, and even if they’ve just been yelling that they want your baby. It’s very easy to tune these things out. Thankfully, when we got to the end of the little trail that we were on, the little old lady with the horse that had been following us stopped to ask us where we were going and we pointed over to the next hillside. She told us we were in fact not on the right trail and that we should go with the man that just came along. He was happy to show us where we were going, so we obliged and started walking straight up the side of the “hill”. I felt like a wimp for having to stop many times to catch my breath while the man wandered up barefooted. Come to think of it I don’t remember seeing anyone wearing shoes up there. As we followed him we still heard everyone in the village talking about us being lost. Actually it was more that people were yelling across a hillside that the whites didn’t know where they were going. “Nou pedi, nou pedi” They’re lost, they’re lost. If anything, we provided a whole lot of simple entertainment for a community. 
Eventually we got to the right path, shook hands with our guide and went on our way. Eventually 4 kids that had been following us from a distance caught up enough to tell us that we were still lost. We knew we weren’t but it was funny to have them tell us so. Actually, what was really entertaining to me was when we were stopped one time and talking to them and Chris told them we were just walking to see what we could see. The little girl, the oldest in the group and the obvious leader, looked at us and scrunched up her face like we had just said something really ridiculous, like, “We’re walking to see if we can find the place where pigs fly.” It was then that I remembered that people don’t generally walk for pleasure here, just for the sake of getting from point A to point B. 
Eventually I was able to drag myself up to where Chris wanted to stop and we found a nice little shady area to sit on some rocks. During certain times of the year it would be a little river bed. We decided to feed the wee one so while we talked she laid on Chris’ lap eating. Memo to self: put child upright when feeding. The result of not doing so is projectile milk. Not just a little bit. ALL 4 ounces that she had just eaten. Thankfully we were both able to get a good laugh out of it. 
On the way back down I accidentally chose the wrong path, but it led us around the village so we didn’t have to hear any more jokes and we got to see things from a different view. It was a fun morning, even though I was a bit cranky about the first part of it. And, I have a wicked sun burn as a souvenir. We had a good time with our friends last night and then all packed it in early.
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 “Happy Mother’s Day…again

  1. Leslie,I thought you had lost your mind! Happy Mothers Day again! Geeessshhhh…. I was really worrying about you, until I got further down in the blog.You just made my day. I’ll be telling everyone you’re not crazy as I momentarily thought. Hope you had a good Memorial Day too!V

  2. I hope you can illusttrate your blog soon with some photos — your hike sounded wonderful, I bet the view from up there was great. And the dorm — it’s hard to imagine how it looks during construction. I remember seeing a cement bucket brigade on my first visit — it was amazing how no one got konked on the head by a bucket.Happy Haitian Mothers Day!Love,Gramma Rolling

  3. You say took a different path on your return and it went around the village. Hmm, do you think the villagers are now telling everyone that the blanc are now missing for several days because the blanc wouldn’t listen? Perhaps you could introduce the childhood song, The Bear Went Over the Mountain to some Haitians. It wouldn’t make any sense to them since they know neither bear nor understand our fun hikes. It would however give them something to embellish the legend of the Blancs Nou Pedi. Hugs Barb J

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