Monday, March 2, 2009

While Ben's been away

(Ben's trip effectively ends today, at 7:00-ish PM when I pick him up at the bus station. Hooray!)
  • I've decided that two weeks is too long for us to be apart.
  • I only ran out of water twice (though once was for 2 1/2 days) and electricity three times.
  • It's rained 5 nights in a row and I discovered that my roof leaks in four places. I was under the impression that the spring rainy season didn't start until April, but I'm not complaining. I LOVE the sound of rain on a tin roof! It's cold at night! My garden is in heaven!
  • Speaking of which, I planted garlic, heat-resistant lettuce, chard, fennel, borage, lemongrass, more tomatoes, more peppers, more beans and more nasturtiums.
  • I've eaten the best tomatoes I've yet to eat in Haiti (from said garden, of course).
  • I've also eaten an embarrassing amount of toast and peanut butter. Not only have I not had anyone to cook with, but Haitian peanut butter is also just THAT good.
  • A broken-down MCC truck and no Ben to take me around on the motorcycle (I still haven't worked up the nerve to drive it myself in the horrendous traffic here), meant that I finally figured out how to get around by moto taxi. Aside from the nasty burn on my leg (note to self: always wear jeans on moto taxis), this has been really empowering. I feel like I have regained a measure of independence that was lost to me when we moved to Haiti.
  • I've become more assertive and confident in my work at the Human Rights Platform. Suddenly I have a lot of ideas to grow the capacity of the organization and to get involved in ways that interest me. Maybe it just takes + six months here to be "oriented" job-wise: to develop necessary language skills, build trusting relationships with coworkers and learn one's way around a complicated institution like this.
  • I had a 5-day weekend, during which:
  1. I read 3 books and watched more movies than I would usually deign to watch in two months. I did six sewing projects, a few of which I've been putting off for months. Mostly little stuff.
  2. For one night I attended the biggest, loudest glitterfest ever: Kanaval in Port-Au-Prince (see previous blogpost with link to someone else's blog).
  3. I also chose to stay in the city while friends went on various vacations. I needed to be alone, to meditate on why I'm here and to regain some of the peace and contentment that's been missing from my life of late.
  4. In ironic contrast to the frenzy of Kanaval, Lent has begun. After 3 days of intense partying, Port-Au-Prince spent Ash Wednesday in church. From our terrace I could hear services all over the city all day. During Lent we resist temptation in honor of the 40 days that Jesus spent alone in the desert without food. And most importantly, we contemplate the meaning of sacrifice and what our response should be to the greatest sacrifice ever made.
  5. I spent Saturday in awe of the creativity of this multi-faceted Creator God, as a friend and I hiked to a farm-converted-into-nature-reserve. We were in the mountains only about 40 minutes above the city, but in a different world. It was foggy, quiet and lush green with wild begonias, fennel, Queen Anne's lace, impatience and roses, eucalyptus, loquat and pine trees. Here, my soul could WORSHIP in the way that has always been easiest for me when I am outdoors in a beautiful place. One of the difficulties for me living in Port-Au-Prince is that I don't seek Him/Her out in the concrete, piles of trash, pariah dogs and bumper to bumper traffic of the city the way I do in the mountains. Maybe for me this Lenten period needs to be about learning to see God in unexpected places. After all, isn't that why one of the reasons I moved to Haiti?
  6. If cross-cultural relationship-building is another reason I moved to Haiti, yesterday was momentous. I went to the beach in Gran Gwav, an hour or so from PAP, with all but 3 of my Haitian coworkers. I discovered that Jaqueline is so conservative a Christian that she won't remove her towel from around her waist, even in the ocean. I discovered that Carole, who made our picnic feast, is an amazing cook, that Carlo loves to be the center of attention, and that Haitians wear shoes in the ocean so that their feet don't get bitten by ti bet yo (small animals). Even though most of my coworkers don't know how to swim, lunch was the only thing that could pull them away from splashing in the surf.

1 comment:

Timbo said...

Sounds like a lot of awesome stuff happening in Port-au-prince. I'm thinking of you guys often and praying as often as I do.



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