I’m in this weird place in my life. I have one friend getting divorced and another who is engaged and just got her first apartment with her fiancé. I have a lot of friends settling down. Then there’s me, I still don’t know what I want anymore. I want something new, exciting, breathtaking, but it feels weird since I don’t have friends who have the same wants. I want to travel and see as much of the world as I can, but no one else seems to want the same. Life is a weird thing.
This last weekend I went camping for the first time. I wasn’t sure I would like it, but it was amazing and wish it never ended.
Can’t it just stay summer forever?
This weeks Haiti Chronicles are on hold due to something actually happening in my life. No, it is not that exciting. One of my friends is determined to move to New Orleans next year after she graduates and wants me to move with her. Words can’t even describe how bad I want to. The houses/apartments there are basically want I have dreamed of living in, I also love how if feels down there. I could do without the extreme temperatures, but it would most likely only be for a few years. I’d love to be able to eat mudbugs whenever, I have been craving them since I left. It would hard to leave my family, but at least I would know someone down there. There are also some very interesting job opportunities there.
On Monday we learned that the church bell would ring everyday at 5:30am, 6:00am, and 6:30am. I am all for getting up early in the morning, but after getting maybe 3 hours of sleep at night, it was not a good time. Between the dogs barking, heat, waking up around 2:30 because it had cooled off so much that I was freezing, nights were a nightmare.
I gathered my scrubs and made my way to the bathroom. At this point we hadn’t had the idea to open the small window in the bathroom yet so the bathroom felt like a sauna. The shower consisted of a small pipe coming out of the wall. In order to not run out of water for the rest of the week some people took showers at night, some in the morning and we had a bucket to collect water to use to rinse ourselves so the water could be turned off between washing the hair, body, etc. The water was also very cold, however this felt amazing.
Once ready we went down and ate breakfast which always included bread and fruit. From there I would take a trip to the roof to admire the mountains. At about 9:30am we began to make our way to the clinic for malnourished children that we would be volunteering at. It was a short walk from the church, but on the way we would have to stay alert so we didn’t get hit by a motorcycle (someone almost got hit twice). The adults that had little shops stared at us as we walked up to the large gate of the clinic. A line had formed outside the gate to see the doctor who recently began working there.
Inside we were greeted by children who threw their arms up in the arm for us to pick them up. The little boy who came to me was actually there because was up for adoption so he was heavier than I anticipated. I lifted with my knees and somehow managed to pick him up. I waddled over to the bench where we were going to get the run down of the clinic by one of the women who helps runs it. While she was talking to us, a nurse came out of another set of gates carrying a child that had passed away that morning. While this was sad, what was more sad was that the other kids were used to this so it wasn’t like a new, upsetting thing to them.
We then made our way into the section with the rest of the children. They were all swarming us. I went into the smallish room where they all sleep and picked up a baby who was recovering from kwashiorkor. Her skin was cracked from being so swollen. After some time with her I made my way over to a little boy who was only 5 months old, but he was smiling and giggling, by far one of the cutest babies I have ever seen. It was soon nap time for him though, so I made my way outside to the older kids. Most of the people in my group would rather color with them so I ended up playing pass to 2 kids with 2 separate balls and kicking a ball with another. That is more activity than I had done in a long time.
At noon we had to leave so that the kids could have their lunch so we went and had ours. Most of the other group went back to the clinic in the afternoon, but I was dying from the heat and stayed back to drink rehydration salts. It may taste nasty, but I felt so much better after.
In the evening we set out to do activities with the children of the village. I painted at least 20 girls nails in 10 minutes. There was also a soccer game going on, jump rope, and coloring. The kids enjoyed it so much, but given there is no lights and it is unsafe at night, as soon as the sun started to go down they began to run home. We then wondered back to our room which by this point was covered in lizards and bugs. When we scared the lizards they would run into holes in the walls. I like to think they were the only reptile in the walls.
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.