We're still in Gwo Jan, still trying to learn Kreyol and still adjusting to life in Haiti. Gwo Jan sits on a mountain about 10 miles and a 40 minute drive from Port Au Prince (which spills into the 'suburbs' of Delmas and Petionville). We are supposed to be taking daily walks through the village with the language tutors that have been assigned to us from the community. We see goats, scrawny chickens and a few cows, of which we've been told there aren't many in Haiti, fruit trees: mango, avocado, banana, plantain, jackfruit, breadfruit, orange, grapefruit, kenap and papaya. There's a baobab tree next to the spring where people come to bathe, do dishes and laundry and get water. It's easy to forget that we're on an island, but when it's clear we can see over the capital city to the ocean. Haiti's climate doesn't feel very tropical, either. This is the rainy season, but it hasn't rained often or much.
Ben and I are staying with Ari Nichols and his wife, Nicole. Ari has partnered many times with MCC in the activism, human rights work, and promotion of locally produced products that he is in involved in. Ari and his coworker Carla are giving us our orientation here. Carla and her husband, Ron, have lived in Haiti for 23 years.
Most of our orientation thus far has been cultural and we feel like we're in desperate need of official language lessons. We attended the wake and funeral of the elder that passed away on our first day here. Ben has learned how to play dominoes Haitian-style. Twice, We've hand washed our clothes until my knuckles bled. We've done some cooking - my hands burned for more than 30 hours after chopping and grinding piman pike (hot peppers). We've driven around Port-Au-Prince a few times on various errands, including a visit to a woodworkers' cooperative. We went to church yesterday - Legliz de Dye here in Gwo Jan. As visitors, we were invited to sit in the front row and introduce ourselves in our limited Kreyol. Someone translated for us in even more limited English. We tried to go to a soccer game, but arrived as the match ended.