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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Part - 7 Haitians, spiders and one likeable mama pig!

It's after breakfast, which was two coffees and an empanada made with either fish or chicken (I couldn't tell which) and 'picklies', tha spicy coleslaw. Bob and I both long for some cold orange juice. We can hear the kids next door screaming and yelling and it feels like there's at least a dozen of them. It seems now we're going to the market and I hope to get some batteries for my camera.

No, wait, another change of plans, that seems typical of the culture here. No problem for me, but it frustrates others in our group. We're going to the job site this morning and to the market this afternoon, which is good because we're fresher now for the work. Though the younger girls got up late, we're not waiting for them, but rather something else. Hurry up and wait, like the old adage from the military.

It turns out that we had to push the truck and motorbike to get them both started. We returned to the site where the bees live, and I got stung again. We loaded the truck and then moved to a location nearby. This site will prove to be our most interesting experience so far.

Under one of the mango trees is tied an enormous black sow, whose five piglets run free, but never far from her. Her bones are showing, and the ancient rope around her neck has dug in and left scars. We threw her some unripe mangoes, which she munched on quite gratefully, seeds and all. She dropped pieces of the fruit for her piglets to taste. She has a huge dented tin bowl for water, which is bone dry. We gave her some of our water, and she drank most of it, then with her snout flipped the bowl over and began to roll in the mud. Apparently lying on her side is an open invitation for her piglets to have a snack.

And a more frightening note, we've discovered that in the rubble live very large tarantulas! They're the size of my hand, and someone scooped one into an empty bucket so we could all have a look and take pictures. We also discovered the tarantulas can climb the sides of slippery white buckets. Ricardo, having been born in Mexico City and lived 40 some years in Dallas, is quite used to tarantulas, and enjoyed swinging the bucket at several of the ladies. When the tarantula finally escaped, one of the Haitians stepped on it. Not to worry, we found many, many more, and eventually began to toss them into an adjacent field. Not me. I was just really careful when I picked up rubble.

Returning for lunch was quite an experience. That motorbike wouldn't start and the driver kept taking out the plug, scraping it on a rock, bending it and putting it back in. Finally, the Haitian girl, Teeteet, trotted off and returned with a chain. The little Mitsubishi truck, filled with others, towed the motorbike in. I now have a great deal of respect for the Mitsubishi company, as that truck has taken an incredible beating and still keeps going.

Lunch today was white rice, bean sauce, spicy meat, and vegetable sauce. It was very good, and we're thankful for the pop we get each meal. After lunch, we walked to the market. It was quite a distance on the far side of the main road. What a cacophony of sounds, smells, and smoke. Built on rough hard pan, it's an incredible labyrinth of tiny stalls held together with wood and ripped great tarps, and absolute maze to walk around. Most of things for sale were Oxo type cooking cubes, canned milk, lots of onions, tomatoes, and long bars of soap. There are vegetables, oranges, plantations, hot peppers all the little piles. We literally threaded our way through the whole place. I bought four batteries for four dollars, and two packs a small biscuits for one dollar. Joan spied some plastic tote bags, and again, the price asked was little high. The woman wanted "over two dollars each", but Joan asked, if we bought five, which she except $10, and the woman agreed. I got a bright pink one. They all have different pictures of Haiti on them, and here in Canada we could probably get them for about a dollar, but everyone says, "let's support the local economy", which leads the businessmen to put their prices up when they see us coming.

Like everywhere else, there's a ton of children, most of them getting out of school and following us. Allan put in his hillbilly teeth, and I would yank them out and Allan would pretend he had no teeth in his mouth. The little girls would scream and run away, and the little boys would laugh hysterically.

On the way back we followed the river. The streets wind in and out, are filled with livestock and we watched one nanny goat get reunited with her baby. We also saw several rubble homes and a hotel used by missionaries distributing water filtration systems about the size of a small fuel filter. The man running the mission was from Steinbeck, Manitoba, and he had students on their spring break helping him. The rooms in the hotel were so unbearably hot, many of the people were lying on the stone floor in the hotel atrium.

When we got back a man from another missionary group stopped by, and he told us his experience during the earthquake, and how he ran in to grab his wife and kids. He told us a little about the voodoo and how 15 children are sacrificed here each year for good luck, but I got the sense that he was exaggerating, claiming it was church on Sunday, voodoo on Monday, and that he invented the saying "50% catholic, 50% protestant, 100% voodoo." 
Good grief, I heard a similar saying 30 years ago, and that man is not that old. Pastor told us voodoo was more in the past, and part of the heritage. It's practiced less and less each year. I think that's true, or else they wouldn't be so many children running around. But it still unnerving to hear. Sharon felt that the pastor of the church around the corner would not practice voodoo. We had an interesting discussion on superstition, asking ourselves if we are any better than the Haitians and their superstitions.

I took a shower, and discovered that my towel is covered with little red ants. After the shower. I had to jump in and shower again and dry off with a clean towel. And I was bitten terribly, and still have the rash. 
 The younger crowd have gone to the beach. It's a two-mile walk. Supper was macaroni with some vegetables. Bob did the devotional, which was about Moses and how God asked "Is my arm to short?"

There are so many mission organizations here, and yet it feels like nothing is getting done. I don't have an answer for this, and to me it's very frustrating. There is some chanting and crying and yelling in the distance, and Chris suggested it was a voodoo ceremony. While it's creepy to hear, we also wonder if we aren't mistaking African music style, though some people say you can tell the difference. I certainly couldn't . And I'm not sure I would want to be able to.

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