Emily and I had nice few days off with the last batch of volounteers gone home. We went up the mountains, pretty much in the middle of nowhere to donate some books and supplies to a tiny school. They were so grateful for everything… As usual Em and I got cold being up The hill.
The next day Emily and I headed to another school also up one of the mountains; they were having their inauguration. After all the speeches and beautiful music Em and I had joked about playing in the playground… We probably would have if it wasnt going to draw so much attention… (White people playing in a caged play ground, with no kids there); so we walked to a cliff and enjoyed the view instead, you could see all of Port Au Prince and more!
Our “break” was only a couple of days as we had some new helpers arrive… A family actually. Brandon a guy who had come out to help Em during the summer last year had brought his family this time to help rebuild a house for a former employee’s family (Tiny’s house).
The past week had been hectic, driving back and forth between Montrouis and Port Au Prince to help build the house. There’s been so many complications as usual, a lot of people showing up wanting to be paid, trying to figure out who’s doing what etc… TIH (This Is Haiti).
One of the days heading back “home” the volounteers wanted to go for a quick dip in the ocean, Emily decided try a new place we’d never been and it seemed relatively new. The beach ended up being amazing! The next few days we used this place to wash off after a long day of working. One of the nights we decided to stay with a great ol’ friend Maeve… Man I missed her and her wee accent. She lives a lot closer to the site we were working on so it was pretty beneficial staying there. The reunion was nice, with a great big hug and her replying with ‘I knew you’d be back‘. Everyone took their showers while we had power, then we all sat out on the balcony chatting for a while. I was supposes to sleep downstairs with Maeve’s friend/boss in this massive bed… By the time I decided I was ready for bed he was passed out and snoring… I’ve gotten used to Haiti noise like dogs fighting or roosters going off like it’s morning but snoring I cant do it. There were some cushions left out from one of the pull out couches I snagged and put them on the covered balcony; I was smart enough to pack up my mosquito netting. I rigged up something of a master piece with a chair, a pencil and the door frame.It was pretty easy to fall asleep, we had worked hard all day and it was raining out so that was soothing. The next morning I was woken up by a water truck cruising up and down the street… They play music like ice cream trucks back in North America but 5 times louder and a tad bit more annoying. I was half im and out of sleep in the morning and what really woke me was Emily’s giggling… It only meant one thing, her and Maeve were up to something. I heard a camera click so I knew a Facebook photo was bound to show up… And it did.
After that I heard ‘it’s too tight‘, they were trying to put something in my peaceful abode I turned over and the buggers were trying to shove a huge teddy bear in there. I caught them before any embarrassing photos were taken.
The following day started a little slow, there was still bickering who was being paid and sharing tools etc… Since the locals didn’t really want a lot of help at the time I decided to lead the group up the mountain for a hike. For some reason they called out to me (the mountains that is), I climbed them everyday. It was fun going up higher than I had previously and with everyone to boot, even took some kids with us. Once at the top there was the most amazing breeze, it was perfect for one of the kids cap’s that’s Creole for kite.
I walked a little higher up the mountain then everyone else after we took an awesome portrait
I took a moment by a tree and just took in the sight; it was marvelous.
We all returned to PAP (Port Au Prince) that day most of us enjoying our bucket showers since there was no running water. Sunday was a pretty laid back day, not much was done just relaxed. At night I took the volounteers out to the Irish Embassy for some R&R then we went off to Jet Set for some pool. Emily was waiting on a friend so I was the leader, I wasn’t too sure how to get there but I stumbled across a friend told him what our plans were. He walked over to our driver and in Creole goes ‘how are? Good? Give me your keys I’m going to drive you there.‘ He pulled out his driving permit then our driver looked at me I said he’s a nice guy and off we went… just like that. The ride was crazy, stalled a few times and went pretty fast but we made it. The pool tables were taken up so we waited, once they finally opened up we walked over and started playing then got kicked off. We were unsure why but 5 minutes later loud music went on and dancers flew out. We watched the dances for a bit and Emily showed up with her friend she was waiting on. It was the last song and the dancers starting picking people out of the crowd to dance, they started coming towards the back where we were, I leaned over to one of our volounteers and said ‘ I’m going to the bathroom before I get snagged‘ he laughed and I went off. When I returned him and his sister were both on the dance floor… My paranoia paid off haha! He came back looked at me and went ‘I should have gone with you‘. I told Emily what I had done and she burst out laughing; she’s been wanting me to dance since the last time I did when I first got to Haiti… That was a one time experience, sorry Em ;).
Monday came around pretty quick I think mostly everyone got a good night sleep. Our group headed back to Montrouis to help finish things up, the walls were mostly done and a few of the volounteers went off to get the Tin for the roof.
Like I had said before I was drawn to the mountains and was curious how quick I could reach the top where I had gone the other day. I wagered I’d get there in 20 minutes and that I thought was a modest time… it was pretty far. I had one of the volounteers time me and watch for me climbing the mountain; I kept thinking they’d just get distracted and forget to time me. Either way I was going to be happy making it to the top quickly. I took off in a light jog going down the one hill to reach the next one over using the momentum to bring me forward. I made it to the second hill, my goal was to get to the third one over as it was a straight shoot to the top, but a steeper climb. I raced and raced, I saw the kids following me but they couldn’t keep my pace, I was pretty proud at the speed I was going and if anything I wanted to make it without stopping. I was nearly at the top I could see the tree I was aiming for it was a stand alone tree. I made it to the top of the one hill I was climbing and to me surprise there was a dip… I had to go down about 20 feet and then travel another 500-600 meters up a another hill before I actually made it. On the way back down I passed a “funeral procession” they were singing and chanting, at the same time carrying a casket up the mountain. Further down the hill I ran into a few people, one of them a female and insisting on me giving her my number. Once Haitians get you into a conversation it’s hard to get out of the tangle they keep having questions… I usually just end off with ‘Pas konprann‘ I don’t understand and then I walk off. I made it back down the mountain to see if they had actually captured the time… to my amazement they did and I had managed the climb in… wait for it… 15 minutes almost to the dot! It’s funny because they thought I made it to the top of the hill and marked it at 13 minutes but where they though I was done was the same spot I thought I was, the landscape had tricked us both. We all had a laugh about it and I was congratulated on the effort. To be honest if it had taken me and hour to get there I wouldn’t have minded, I was just proud to have gone and not stopped the whole way.
The last few days I’ve been hit with a lot of thinking as usual Haiti plays on your emotions good and bad. There was a point where I had uncertainty hit me… I asked my self what the heck am I doing here? This doubt scared me because I felt lost, in the dark… alone. I tried to put it behind me and keep myself busy about and hour or two later I brought up the same question but realized why I was here. This place made me so happy, maybe the high of running up the hill and making it back down followed by sitting played with me a weird way. When I look at the kids that I play with and joke around with I feel so happy. I’ve always had problems with my emotions and trying to figure out how to feel them let alone express them. Haiti has done wonders for me taught me how to feel more and just be happy. There’s days where I’m down and for many different reasons from missing friends to just being tired, but somehow these kids just come to me smiling and know how to make you smile and get you playing despite being exhausted mentally and physically. My job is a 24/7 job, I don’t get a day off but I love it.
The book I’ve been writing has reached around 11,000 words I’m super happy… kind of stuck in a tough place of writing though, but I’m catching up to current events, a little less than a year away! Speaking of books I finished reading a book I brought called “A Hostile Place” (got it from my Grandma that lives in England) I’m really proud of myself for finishing it… to be honest I think it’s only the second book I’ve finished reading that I personally chose to read.
Wednesday I took the volunteers back to Montrouis while Emily stayed in PAP to pick up Madison the newest volunteer. Unfortunately the house didn’t get to the roof being build before we had to head back home, it would have been nice so the family that came up to help build Tiny’s house could have seen the finished product. On the way home we stopped at a gas station to get some quick food before heading to the beach. I tried an ice cream that was Pina Colada flavoured… it was amazing! We all headed to the beach for the groups last swim, we went a bit further out than normal and just relaxed lived it up to the fullest. It was a little overcast so the water wasn’t as warm but warm enough… better than back in Canada!
Today (march 7th) we dropped off the family of 4 off at the airport… so far this was one of my favourite groups. Emily and I had picked up another couple a few days back so now we have three volounteers. All five of us went up to Mission Baptist and it was absolutely freezing this time; normally it’s pretty cold… well for Em and I anyway. We got up the mountain and it was really foggy out which was a shame the newbies, they didn’t get to see much of the view from the restaurant we usually go to By the time we left to go buy souvenirs the fog had cleared a bit and we got some decent pictures.
I’ve put off finishing this post for multiple reasons… power outages, lack of motivation etc… so here it is long but here!
“Never forget the ones you love, they help create the lasting memories”