I do house visits to check on certain people in the village, especially kids who have been absent from the program or known to be sick or just my favorites that I want to go see!
This is one of my favorite parts of my job. I get to see first hand how people live in their environment.
I joke that sometimes I feel like I am the host of a show on the National Geographic channel :)
I get to see things and learn how people of another culture live and sit and shat with them while they are making Haitian food over charcoal with the chickens and naked kids running around.
I get to see what is inside people's houses and how these poorest of the poor scrape by day to day.
I get to be the butt of a lot of jokes which open up the channel of communication which allow me to inquire about things most people wouldn't ask.
I get to sit among a people who are strong, beautiful and poor. And that combination is like none other I have ever experienced.
Last week I was sitting in a group of women at one of their houses and they were admiring my wedding ring. And I quickly thanked God for giving me simple tastes to choose a simple wedding ring. I don't have an engagement ring. But I believe if I would have had a big rock on my finger, yeah it would been admired, but it would have been a huge barrier between me and these women I am trying to reach.
I took off my ring and handed it to Marlene, one of the women I have known for years here. She looked at it and it tried to put it on her pinky (Haitian's hands are big!). She took hers off and handed it to me. It was made of a metal that looked like gold but it was so thin I was afraid I might bend it.
As it dangled on my thumb Marlene started talking as she turned my ring around and around her pinky.
4 years ago her husband went to the Dominican Republic looking for work to support their family. She was pregnant when he left.
She never heard from him again.
But she keeps on keeping on. When most of us would be in bed with the covers over our head. Curtains drawn. On depression meds. Laying on a couch talking to a shrink.
Not Marlene. One of the poorest Haitians I know, she is raising her 4 kids alone. She cooks and sells food in the market. She walks 1/2 mile up a rocky hill with 5 gallons buckets of water on her head to wash, clean and bathe. She carries her kitchen supplies all the way to town to make and sell food.
She handed me back my ring with rugged, calloused hands that know hard work. I reached out to take it with freshly painted fingernails and smooth fingertips.
I didn't want to look up b/c I knew the tears welling up in my eyes would spill over.
Then she cracked a joke about checking her charcoal b/c her her small outside kitchen already caught on fire once and there is no man around to rebuild it for her and everyone was laughing so it gave me a chance to wipe my eyes without anyone noticing.
And life went on.
Her example of strength, beauty and poverty.
She is strong.
She is beautiful.
She is poor.
And she is a daughter of the King. Which makes her my sister.
And that makes me proud.
On a non-serious note...
When I was leaving Peredo that day this moto passed me.
I saw a flash of IV tubing and thought my eyes were still watering.
So I called him back and had to take his picture.
Yep it's exactly what it looks like. Pop bottle with gasoline in it connected to his moto with old IV tubing.
Only in Haiti!