Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Haiti Part 4 (Final Installment)

Well, folks, this is the last installment for now. My Haiti journey is far from over but these last few stories wrap this trip up.

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday brought us back to the clinic. I found my niche as "keeper of the charts" and maintained organization - more like organized chaos. I helped with the patients, to the capacity that I could, and spent the time in between, chatting. Our translators:



Our translators, Bertho, Rony, and Joe were awesome. They were a wealth of knowledge and I loved chatting with them and learning about their lives, their goals and aspirations, their faith, and of course about their culture. It felt like we spent a lot of time comparing and contrasting Haiti and America. We talked about churches, solid doctrine and about voodoo. We talked about marriage and wedding ceremonies. We talked about styles of dress. It was really interesting to unravel more and more information from the story that makes up Haiti. They were all excited to learn of my prospect of coming back. And I'm excited to call them friends! They really are zanmi mwen (my friends)!

When it was slow in the afternoons (we had 2 regular afternoon patients - that's it!) we had some time to goof around and have fun. We taught each other some idioms. They got a kick out of "having a ball". We all tried to rub our bellies and pat our heads. And I taught them the cup game. And much to my mother's chagrin, Rony even showed me what it's like to ride a moto (motorcycles are taxi's in Haiti) in Haiti - very scary and very fun. I'm fairly certain I screamed over half the way home - sorry Rony!

Our patients were mostly the same ones we had been seeing - only a few new ones. We continued to see progress being made and joy oozing from their ear-to-ear grins. Though, I should note, some Haitians don't smile for pictures (even when we ask  them to). It is thought that photos are supposed to be formal and serious and not a smiling occasion. Boy would my facebook be devoid if I only posted formal and serious photos!!

On Monday night I was blessed to have a conversation with MariJo, one of the wonderful women who works in Dr. June's house. By this point I was comfortable holding a very simple and slow conversation in Creole. I was just asking her a few questions about the book she was reading and about her hair - she had recently undone her braids. And while we were talking she offered to do my hair! Now you should all know that MariJo is a bilateral femur amputee and also a partial left hand amputee. She has no legs and only has a thumb and pointer finger on her left hand. I was curious about how this would work but I had seen her around the house and knew she was a very capable and self-sufficient woman so I figured she'd find a way to braid even my "silky white people hair". Sure enough, she did and it turned out great! It lasted two days before the braids came loose and started to look like a rats nest.

Tuesday night we had a big dominoes game. Haitians LOVE dominoes. And they're really competitive. There's so much strategy and "card counting" involved. I really couldn't play very well but I still enjoyed hanging out and playing along. The only problem was that when you lose, you have to clip clothespins on your body (hands, arms, or face/ears). And let me tell you, these were new clothespins that really had some grip to them. OUCH! I lost a lot but since I was a beginner they went easy on my clothespin punishments. =)

Wednesday night was supposed to be missionary church. I actually really wanted to go but we heard some thunder booming a little ways off and the group collectively decided trudging up the hill in the rain was not a good idea. BUT...the rain never came. The thunder stayed off in the distance and eventually went away entirely. But by this point we would have been quite unfashionably late for missionary church. So what did we do instead? Why we went on a tarantula hunt, of course!! We donned our headlamps and checked our heebie jeebies at the door. We were 5 women on a mission! We walked along the road and looked along the cliffs and ditches to see what we could see. We actually found 6 adult tarantulas, 2 babies, and a dead one. Fortunately we met up with a Haitian friend of Kelly's and he helped us capture one! We named him Henry and we all felt confident enough to take a mini photoshoot with him - as long as he stayed within the confines of his glass jar.

How Henry thinks I feel about him

How I really feel about Henry

What an adventure on my last night in Les Cayes, right? Yes, I'm sad to say this was my last night there. The next morning we had a 5am departure scheduled in order to drive back to PaP in order to catch our flights on Friday. Well apparently that thunderstorm came back with a vengeance because in the middle of the night a huge storm rolled in and dumped a ton of water on our little tin roof. Our 5am departure got pushed to 6am, then to 7am, and we eventually left at 8:30am once the rain had calmed down. Dr. June had some errands and meetings to go to on our drive back (at various "villes" outside PaP) so our drive took a while but it was still fun. I'm happy to say that I stayed in the back the whole time and didn't get car sick at all! Once we got into PaP, we took a different route through the city than we had on the way down. We passed some big slums (not Cite Soleil, though) and many many tent cities that are slowly becoming slums themselves, sadly. MariJo traveled with us (she is currently finishing out a 2 week visit the States with Dr. June) and she told us a bit about her childhood. She grew up in Cite Soleil with 11 brothers and sisters and an absentee dad. She told us she loves working with Dr. June but only gets to see her mom and siblings once a year, or so. My heart broke for her but at the same time I was praising God for delivering such a beautiful soul out of Cite Soleil and  offering her a chance to learn and work and know Him.

I have tons of pictures of the slums but I've decided not to post them anywhere online. The tent cities are already plastered in the news and blogs everywhere. But I really feel that you need to go and see the slums (and the rest of Haiti) for yourself. A five minute journey down the road will open a window into a whole 'nother world - one that will shake you to your core. One day, if I get the chance and feel peace with doing so, I would like to visit Cite Soleil or any other slum in Haiti for a day. I might not be able to do much but I can visit, I can talk, and I can learn. Sometimes a friendly face is all they need to know they are loved and there is hope in God.

For the rest of my pictures and many more mini-stories that I've not blogged about here, you can visit my picasa album. Feel free to comment and ask questions. And stay tuned - my Haiti journey is far from over!



  1. :) SO glad you found a great place to land.


  2. Its great to hear that you had a meaningful and enjoyable time...and I look forward to hearing all your future Haiti adventures :)