Day 4 - The Beach!
Trip Start Mar 04, 2010
12Trip End Mar 15, 2010
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This morning started out pretty interestingly. We were eating breakfast of stale raisin bran and weird warm boxed milk when a little boy (Stanley I found out later) was carried into the courtyard of the quad crying. Dr. Jerry and Ryan promptly responded to Father Marc's calls and they were out there for about a half hour. The boy’s rectum had fallen out and they had to push it back in for him. The kid was constipated and for some reason his insides weren’t attached properly so when he pushed the whole thing came out. I had no idea that could happen!! Poor Stanley, He couldn’t have been more than 5 years old and apparently this wasn’t the first time it had happened. If it doesn’t fix itself he will need an operation to attach it. He was crying so loud too! I felt so bad for him!
So the doctors came back into the kitchen and washed their hands, sat down, and for some reason didn’t finish their cereal. No idea why! So that was a nice start to our relaxing Sunday.
After our exciting breakfast we headed over to the preschool where we had mass since the Quonset hut is full of relief supplies and drying clothes. I am just recognizing how comfortable I am around all of these people here. Everyone is just so good and nice. It’s like a home away from home, thank God or I would probably be freaking out by now! Mass was interesting because this week they are honoring Women ( I forgot what they called it) and they did special dances and songs. All of the hymns are sung along with drums instead of an organ which was a pleasant change.
After mass the girls stayed behind so we could meet them all. What a beautiful bunch! They clean up much better than the boys do! They will be the ones living in the houses when they are finished and I think they deserve every bit of it. For some reason none of them spoke any English, I think its because most of them hadn’t been at Espwa very long so they haven’t been taught English yet.
We headed back to the quad afterward to get some lunch (Lasagna! I know! This is ridiculous!) and talked with Father Marc about the next few projects he wants REACH to help him with. A new place for guests to stay in order to convert the quad into offices and a new church are next on the list. When our driver pulled up we all piled in and headed 45 minutes southwest to the Beach in Port Salut. I felt kinda bad leaving the kids all there but I guess they take them to the beach in busloads. I wanted to get some work done first too before I got a reward like the beach!
The drive there was beautiful because it went over the mountains next to the ocean. It was beautiful! The beach seemed set up for tourists, but there weren’t any. There were relief workers taking breaks like us but it was mostly Haitians. We set up camp under a grass canopy and I headed right into the water. I had never swam in the ocean before! It was so warm and the saltiness was really weird. Way different from Lake Michigan! I spent enough time in the water to get nice and pruny and then went up and sat in the sun. that didn’t last long because it was windy and kids were playing soccer so I kept getting sand in my face. Oh well. I didn’t want to get sunburned anyways. That wouldn’t be much fun working with burned skin. I sat in the partial shade and read my book for a while. There were some UN guys taking a break, I think they were from Portugal, and they were buying two pretty (very young) Haitian girls drinks. Linda explained to me that they do this all the time and promise the girls they will take them away or whatever else and then take them to a room or wherever they are staying. She said she would see one guy come out and another go in after him. It was disgusting and I wanted to go over there and slap them up a bit. I didn’t because they were soldiers and I don’t really think I could hold my own but it really made me mad. Linda has been in Haiti for a long time and she gets really upset when she sees that stuff too. I don’t know if I could handle that all the time. I keep hoping all these stories I am hearing are exaggerated but I'm afraid they aren't.
So we stayed at the beach until about 5 and then went over to a French restaurant/hotel on the beach owned by a guy from Paris. We had put in our orders on the way to the beach three hours ago so we didn’t have muc h of a wait. I ordered my first and only Prestige beer which is a lot like Red Stripe but better! The Prestige brewery is in Port-au-Prince and was damaged by the quake so it was in short supply. I was told that the US had made it a high priority to get it up and running again. Nice. I hope that’s just a rumor! Anyways, I had ordered Lobster with crème sauce (I think…it was in French) and it was soooo tasty!
We started to head back but had to stop to watch the sunset. I have never seen the sun move so fast in my life! Since we were so close to the equator the sun had a lot shorter path and once it hit the horizon it was gone in like 30 seconds! The drive back through the mountains in the dark was pretty dangerous and even Linda was nervous because she didn’t know our driver. The driving in Haiti is 10 times worse than the driving in Europe! The general rule is, if you have the bigger vehicle, then you have the right of way. They pass on blind corners and play chicken if the vehicles are of comparable size. I just tried not to pay attention.
When we got back I took another cold shower, still not used to it, and then I learned how to play euchre. Not my favorite but it’s something to do at night when we are locked up in the Quad. Tonight there is some kind of night club outside the gates and I can hear it from here in my room. Why wouldn’t they have it on Friday or Saturday? Huh. Anyways, that’s my relaxing Sunday and I am so ready to get to work!!!!