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Gone to Haiti: Days 8-18

Day…what was it again?

Okay. It’s been a hot minute since I last posted. I’m aware. The thing about Haiti is that, while the days seem to have twice as many hours in them, and you’ll look back at 3pm and wonder how on earth it’s only been three hours since you ate lunch, you still manage to lose track of time. I think it’s the exhaustion. Your body is trying to push through each excruciatingly long day whilst dealing with a hotter sun, little water, and a diet consisting mostly of carbs. So when 8pm rolls around and it feels like you’ve lived through an entire week in the last twelve hours, you welcome sleep. And then you welcome sleep again the next day. And the next day. And the next day. And before you know it, you’ve gone over a week without writing a blog post, and you’ve entirely forgotten everything that has happened in the last year—I mean, eight days—since you last wrote.

 

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Our group at Jacmel! Including our two amazing drivers and a couple of our awesome surveyors.

I guess it’s apparent that Haiti is not a walk in the park—something that most people could probably guess, but have no real quantification of until they’ve been here. Honestly, the seven other study abroad girls and myself are getting pampered in comparison to what real life in Haiti looks like, and being in the field has taught me that. Here at Christianville, I can drink water straight from the tap just like in America. I’m fed meals (maybe not the best meals) three times a day. I have toilets that flush, which is a big deal. And I don’t have to bathe out of a bucket, which means you will never hear me complaining about the lack of hot water. Meanwhile, some of the Haitians we’re surveying have to bathe in their yards; use latrines in their yards; travel to get (untreated) water from the community well; and have to cook meals for their large family every day with what water they bring back from said wells. Did I mention these are the same people who grin and say a friendly, “Bonswa,” every time my privileged butt walks by? These are the same people who happily grab chairs for myself and my Haitian partner to sit in while they stand as we interview them for an hour. Or they wash their clothes, or cook their meals, or sell water outside their house—all the while sharing information about their lives with us. Anything that might lead to a better water situation for their community.

 

 

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A quick snapshot as we zoomed through the mountains on the way to Jacmel captured this local man among the forestry. I wish I could have captured the views, but it’s impossible.

I really want to write about everything I’ve seen and learned. I want to tell you all about going to a Haitian church, and how hearing a room full of voices rising up to praise the Lord in Kreyòl was profound. I want to tell you about going to the roof of the Fish House at Christianville and singing songs with the other study abroad girls while the sun went down behind the mountains. I want to tell you about our parties at Claude’s house, where we continuously blew out the car battery that was fueling our late-night Backstreet Boys karaoke and Whitney Houston dance marathons. I want to tell you about Jacmel and the two-hour drive up the mountains, how the Haitian proverb deye mon, gen mon—behind mountains, there are mountains—came to life before our eyes. I want to tell you how beautiful Haiti is, how incredibly kind the people are, how they make me laugh and smile in the most genuine of ways.

 

img_20180520_191955Honestly, I am just exhausted by how much I’m learning. Every day it’s new information, new things I’ve never seen before, and it’s not just about digesting it. It’s about figuring out what to do with it. What to think. How to feel. Meanwhile trying to remember my own name, my life back in America, which is increasingly hidden behind the wild brush of Haiti. I want to understand everything, I want to explain everything, I want to fix everything, but all I have right now is this: piti piti zwazo fè niche li.

Little by little, the bird builds its nest.

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