I remember the night before I was leaving for Haiti freaking out. Who did I think I was, leaving everything and everyone I knew for a year? I remember turning to my mother and saying “Gosh, I wish that I was just 2 weeks in and knew what I was doing.”
Yes, two weeks in, things were much, much easier. I knew that I had running potable water and a great cook and supportive coworkers and that if I desperately needed a few minutes of air conditioning, I just needed come up with a computer problem for the IT guy to fix. But know what I was doing? Hah.
This week I hit the three month mark: a quarter of the way through my YASC appointment! I can’t believe it! And finally, I feel like, at least for this week, I kind of know what I am doing! And while sometimes I miss the mystery, it feels good to know the ropes!
On Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays I head to Hopital Sainte-Croix where I work with the administrator on whatever she decides will be pleasant that day. One particularly memorable day had me explaining the corrections a foreign group wanted on the budget by headlamp. Other days find me giving tours to visiting groups or helping visiting medical groups get acclimated or translating this that or the other thing. Getting the central stock organized is an upcoming project, as is trying to get the medical records into something that assembles “a record” more than the “stack of papers” that they currently are.
Wednesdays and Fridays are my days around FSIL, where I teach, plan, edit, translate, meet, etc. I do not have a curriculum, the students do not have English textbooks, and all 47 of my first years (who are all in 1 room!) have very different levels of English, so I have certainly had to be creative! So far, I have gotten away with using things like Katy Perry music and The Notebook trailer as teaching tools, so it has been thoroughly enjoyable.
Many days, it is hard to see what kind of impact I am making. I certainly make a lot of paper and hope that I am putting some good systems in place at institutions I believe can improve structural issues. What I absolutely cannot deny any day is that I learn more than I could ever imagine. I joke that life in Haiti is a daily adventure: for example, today I was instructed in how to suck cartilage out of fish bones without stabbing yourself (spoiler alert: I was not successful in this task). I love it when a new group of Americans comes through and they start asking questions or sharing experiences: it is in those conversations that I realize just how much these three months have shifted the way I see the world and see my role in it. I cannot wait to see where I am 9 months from now.
One of the recent adventures… learning how to hand wash clothes. They let the blans (the Creole word for foreigner, literally “white people”) use the washing machines but Orpha thought that we needed the experience.
This goat just looked kingly to me. A few minutes later he thought I needed to recreate Running of the Bulls… Goat Style.
I would be remiss if I also did not give a big THANK YOU to probably just about everyone who is reading this for your love and support over these three months. I cannot tell you how much your e-mails, messages, comments to my parents that they have relayed to me, marathon Google Hangouts, or just straight up thoughts and prayers have fed me on this journey.
AND FINALLY… I never went to a good football school. Except that suddenly I am an alumna of the 8-0 South Hunterdon Eagles and the 10-0 Fordham Rams! So incredibly proud of both of my schools and will certainly be cheering them on in playoffs! Go Eagles! Go Rams!