People are finally telling me that my Creole (the language spoken here) is good. I have been studying hard to be able to communicate here. People in the church are being very patient with me and the some kids learned yesterday that I am picking up the art of breaking up fights in Creole. There were 4-5 kids playing here yesterday outside and I was cleaning inside the walls so I couldn’t see them but could hear them. One started screaming and crying and I think the mother hen in me came out and I went out to get the story. In my limited Creole I asked the kid who hit if he wanted me to hit him and he laughed and said no. I then asked if he wanted me to go tell his mom. He said that I didn’t know where he lived! (Sounds like a response from a kid in the US!)Then I gave a lecture on how we don’t hit each other. I walked away not proud for breaking up a fight but proud that I could yell in Creole. Finally!
The weather has been nice during the day here with some hard rains at night. Last Friday evening there was a hard rain and storm in Port-au-Prince and we drove to Jacmel the next day. There is a place called Ka Fou that we drive through coming out of the capital. Because of the rain the night before it was a sludge of mud and trash. Plastic pop bottles and other trash were in the street, on the sidewalks, basically everywhere . The road was littered with trash and mud that had washed down the hill. I saw guys carrying people (mostly women) on their backs crossing the street. I was told that people were paying those men to carry them across the dirty street on their backs. It truly was a mess. People walking through that dirty, disease infested mud. In a city with so many people crowded into one place trash is a huge problem. There are few dumpsters around and those are usually full anyway. So there are big trash piles on the side of the road and once they get really big they are burnt. Kids play around these and dogs, pigs and goats walk around in the piles and eat. Here is a picture of one on the way to the church in Port-au-Prince. No matter how many times I wash my hands while I’m in Port I still don’t feel clean. You can see what kind of a challenge the medical personnel in Haiti are working against.
trash along side the road in Port-au-prince
But the beaches in Jacmel (southern Haiti) are amazing. Light beige sand and blue/turquoise water. Haiti shares the island with the Dominican Republic. The DR is known for it’s vacation spots and resorts. Haiti has the same beautiful areas but they are undeveloped. I guess people are still afraid to travel to this country and because of that there is not much invested in tourism. I admit there have been a few times here that I felt nervous. I can honestly say I was more scared of being in Mexico when I was there than I have ever been here. There are some hotels here and I went to one to eat for my Birthday. The food is good and most of the views are oceanfront. I ordered a chicken sandwich which would be on a sub bun with chicken and cheese and sauce. The waitress came out and told me they didn’t have any chicken sandwiches today (which is not uncommon for restaurants here not to have multiple things on the menu on a given day). So I ordered a ham and cheese sub. They brought us out our food including my sub and another guy at the table ordered grilled chicken breast. So they had chicken and they had bread and cheese but they didn’t have chicken sandwiches! So is life in Haiti!
(Cap Lamandu-hotel/restaurant for my B-day dinner)
(view from restaurant/hotel)