The Real First Day

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Our first full day was Easter Sunday. The night was awful. There was a wedding at the church that went on until 2 in the morning. The singing was beautiful, but I needed sleep. Afterward, people remained in the streets and made noise all night long, accompanied by all the dogs in Cazale barking. But, we still managed to get up early, put on our Easter best and go for a walk around the village. Along this walk people kept yelling blanc to us (it means white) or they just stared at us.

Once the bell rang for church we went back. The church is rather large, but it was crammed full. There was fans along the ceiling, but with the amount of people in there, they did nothing. All of the Mass was done in Haitian Creole so we just sat their and smiled and went with it.

After Mass, we made our way down the huge steps of the church. My legs were barely long enough. We then began to walk to our translators mother’s house. Along the way we passed so many different kinds of houses. Some were small, probably consisting of 1 room, then there were huge houses, colorfully painted and protected by walls with either barb wire or glass shards on top and a gate. There was some little stands to buy things, a coffin maker, a blind man with a rope tied around his waist with his wife holding the other end…..at least 10 feet in front of him. Some people asked for money, the kids came running to us yelling blanc, all while baking in the 90+ degree heat.

We enjoyed lunch under a mango tree. The food was absolutely amazing. Some of the kids climbed the coconut trees and prepared them for us to drink. All seemed fine.

Then, there was a lot of people and music coming from the street. Our translator and his friends looked slightly concerned, making me nervous. It ended up being a voodoo parade. Soon after the people arrived a coffin was driven by on a motorcycle, then our translator went down and paid them not to harm us. This made me trust them even less.

After we were safe we descended down the little hill we were on to the crowd. While half of my group had wandered over to the center of the crowd, a little girl behind the rest of us cut her foot so we stopped. As I turned around to step onto the road to get our professor, 2 men almost ran into me. They weren’t just 2 men, they were carrying a human that had been sacrificed for the voodoo holiday. The person was covered by a white sheet that was stained with blood. I had a lot of emotions at that moment and all were telling me I needed to go home. As I turned around for support, the 2 behind me were wide eyed and mouth opened.

I made it to our professor who went back and bandaged up the little girl. The ceremony was pretty, full of music and dancing, but it was short lived as they carried on down the road.

After this we made our way back to the church. Along the way we stopped at the memorial for when the tonton macoutes had come to the village. It was also the anniversary for this. Our translator told us about the event given his father was placed in one of their jails and his mother had to flee with her children.

We spent the rest of our day on the roof talking and preparing for our first day at the clinic.

 

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