Sunday, October 6, 2013

Questions You Always Wanted Answered but Were Afraid to Ask…

Fortunately, someone was not afraid to ask!
1. What is the best part about your life right now?
It is hard to pick just one! I love that I speak 3-5 languages on any given day (French, English, and Creole every day, and then we throw around some Spanish in the office and the consultant I am working with right now likes to quiz me on my Arabic!) I love what a culturally immersive experience this is: I really get to live with and alongside Haitians. And I love the people: Haitians love to laugh, dance, and sing, and really don’t care how good you are at any of these. Sounds like home to me!
2. What is the hardest part?
This one also gets split into two parts. First, it is the establishment of extreme poverty as the new normal. Everyday something in the hospital shocks me: people just don’t get treated with the very basic care that I would expect in the year 2013. They are told they need 4 medicines to fight an infection and can only afford to buy 2: it is tragic to see. On a personal level, my wings have been clipped rather severely. For safety reasons, I am asked not to leave the campus without a Haitian and never at night. I can’t cook my own food, do my own laundry, or drive my own car. It is a definite exercise in giving up control, which is probably not a bad thing!
3.Are you eating enough?
I swear that people besides my mother have asked this question. Yes, I am being fed plenty and very good stuff!
4.What do you miss the most about home?
Wandering around by myself wherever I want, fall flavored foods, and friends, family, etc. (obviously in this order) 
5.What is your day to day life like?
I wake up around 6 or 6:30, get ready, have breakfast in the cafeteria, and go to the office around 8. I spend my days either lesson planning, teaching, or doing whatever random jobs I am asked to at the school (Friday, I made a game show. Thursday I was editing the new Nurse Practitioners program’s student’s essays). Or I will catch a ride over to the hospital, where I will work with the administration on project proposals or will work with the consultant who is spending a month at Sainte-Croix talking to different departments and working towards a long-term strategic plan. After the work day, I go for a run, eat dinner, spend about an hour studying Creole, do some reading, and go to bed!
6.How is the fundraising going?
It is with a heart full of gratitude and humility that I am pleased to announce that I exceeded my fundraising goal this week! I am truly grateful to everyone who helped me to reach this goal and know that I think of you and your support often.
7.How hot is it actually?
It is not cold, but I have definitely gotten used to the heat. We very much look forward to evening thunderstorms, which make the sleeping conditions glorious!
8.Do you have an address?
Not yet but I am working on it! I will let you know when I know! I do love mail!
9. What was the most surprising part about arriving in Haiti?
One is just how much it looks like pictures. It isn’t that photographers take the pictures of the most decrepit buildings that they can find: there are buildings on every street that look like that. And then you happen upon this beautiful old house or a gorgeous courtyard and it is just strikingly beautiful. Haiti also has some gorgeous scenery working for it: every sunset is picture worthy, the hills are green and rolling, and the ocean is calm, blue, and comes out of nowhere, no matter where you are in Haiti.
The other most surprising things is when simple things I assume a place would have don’t exist. For example, a coffee shop. Or a park. Or trash cans or benches or street lights or a thousand other little things that we take so for granted in the USA.
10. How is your Creole coming along?

It is coming! It is pretty easy to learn from French and everyone is really good about helping me and pushing me! However, I am spoiled here; everyone speaks French well so there is not as much of an impetus to learn. Alan, the YASCer on the Central Plateau, can speak circles around me because where he is placed, few people speak English or French. 


  1. Salut Julie,

    Comment vas-tu? Apres avoir lu ton blog, il me semble que tu t'es bien habituée à ton travail et à la vie là-bas.
    Moi et mes éléves aimerions bien aider la mission. De quoi avez-vous besoin?
    Ecris-moi quand tu auras du temps libre. A bientot et je t'embrasse
    Dawn Migone

  2. It is good to hear that you are doing well. Am sure you are making a difference in many individual lives. Will you be able to visit any beach? And any good coffee?