Sunday, September 8, 2013

Old People Butt in Line and Other Musings

One of the things that surprises me most about Haiti are the similarities in silly little things between our culture and theirs: the last child, the baby, is spoiled rotten (thanks Mom!). Moms call to check and make sure that you are eating enough. Babies get cooed at with the same words in a different language. Students try to get out of taking exams.  People love their music and dancing.

And then there are some distinct differences:

Things happen in different places. We had a visitor from University of Michigan who wanted to buy some souvenirs, so I went along. FSIL staff took us to… someone’s house. The artist spread out her impressive display of wares on her bed. Their version of “fast food” is a “Friture,” where people flock to this woman’s stand full of all kinds of delicious fried things, from chicken to plantains. Some people wash clothing, dishes, and themselves at water pumps right next to the road.

There is no order to receiving communion. You go up when you feel like it in this hodge-podge mess that makes me pretty anxious. Old people butt right to the front of the line.

“Haiti time” means that 6 o’clock means 6… maybe 7… probably by 8. Really whenever you get around to it.

Haitians don’t go in the sun. Granted it is really hot but it is hilarious to see the lengths they will go to to stay under cover.

Everyone has prepaid cell phones. To recharge, you walk up to a man on the street wearing a red vest, hand him cash, and he texts you to add time. There are also booths with generators where you can charge your electronics if your power is out. 

Me, my carving, and the artist. One day I will learn how to hold things correctly in photos. I love the stone---it sort of looks like wood but is very heavy.
 Alex, the head of maintenance at the school, poses with the selection of carvings and paintings. Aren’t they gorgeous?
 I took a walk out to the ocean on Saturday. Check out those sailboats! They take quite a while to build but bring in some delicious fish. This is not one of the swimming beaches. I asked someone why not and they said “can’t you see how dirty the water is.” They forgot that I am from New Jersey J To get to the sea you walk through the sugar cane fields and life just gets a lot quieter. It was a definite contrast to the city of Léogâne.

I feel like I am getting into the groove of things here. I figured out how to go running which has been a definite improvement in my quality of life (and how much of this awesome food I am able to eat!) There are also gorgeous sunsets every night when it cools down enough to run… there is a whole lot of sky here. 

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