Yesterday, June 7th, I arrived in Port-au-Prince after a long day. I was soo excited to be landing in a new country and experience a new culture again, but yet I was very nervous. A lot of people have told me I am very brave for doing this alone and not going with a team. To me it didn’t seem like it was bravery, but now as I realize how much more independent I have to be here, yet dependent on Sarah for the language and other things, I know it will get harder. I don’t exactly have someone in the same shoes as I am living with me. So I am a bit alone on this. Im starting clear at the beginning of learning Creole so therefore these first couple of days have been a bit awkward and weird as I couldn’t speak anything whatsoever. So I was super excited about having my first Creole lesson with Sarah today. Nene, (nay-nay), who also lives here and does just about anything, sat in so he could learn more English. Its hard when you really want to talk to someone and not feel so uncomfortable, but when you don’t know one bit of the language coming in, it makes it very uncomfortable right away. Even awkward. But I keep telling myself that it wont always be this way. After spending two days with the children already, I am SOO motivated to learn Creole so I can speak to them. They are now starting to open up to me and they just laugh because I cant understand them or speak back to them. Its actually a really humbling situation/experience. When you enter a new culture you know nothing about, we start as children, re-learning everything. And I mean EVERYTHING. You start with language. It is less intimidating to speak to a child and learn it through them then it is to right away speak to an adult. Ha, obviously. So I definitely have 8 GREAT kids to practice on.
Right now as I sit here, the generator is about to be shut off. There is no electricity running during the day because it isn’t needed. But during the evening they turn it on so we can cook and the kids can get ready for bed. So soon it is going to be shut off, and that is when I rely on the wind/breeze outside to run through the windows and cool me off at night. I have realized how comfortable I have gotten in the States all over again. It has been about 2.5 years since I was in Mali. So now that Im back in a third-world country, I’m having to remember that I have no rights. And to understand that and recognize it will make things a lot easier. For example, it is easier to accept warm drinking water. The refrigerator doesn’t turn on till the evenings, so this is when I will stick my cup in the freezer so it can get at least a little cool. Now in Mali, we always had cold drinks, a working refrigerator, and a shop across the street with cold sodas if we wanted them. Now I shouldn’t ever expect to have the same luxury, but for some reason I do! And it is easy to compare the lifestyle here with mine back at home where I can have cold water ANYTIME and ALL the time. It is one of those things that seems so small and simple, yet when you don’t have it and it is very hot all the time, you start wanting your luxuries back and feel like you have the “right” to have cold water. Other examples are: sharing a bathroom with 8 children and 2 adults, I cannot just hop in my car and go wherever I want, privacy is limited, Im living out of a suitcase (which I know will get old after a while), food choices are limited, and the list goes on.
Oh, and did I mention both dogs, Gracie and Phoebe like to sit right outside the 4 windows next to my bed and bark all night. Wow
Today we also went up to the clinic with three of the children. Mirlandia has an ear infection, Jimmy has a sore throat and swollen glands, and little Regina has been having a cough for over 3 days and the cough syrup hasn’t been working for her. Total amount of medication for the 3 was $50, which honestly doesn’t sound like anything to us, because in America we could have one medication that costs over $100 and some people pay that like it is nothin’ at all. So I really pray that the kids feel better soon and stay healthy!
Today I did my first craft with them. I wanted them to be able to hang up a picture of themselves somewhere in the house, whether its in the dining room or in their own rooms, so they painted popsicle sticks and I glued them together tonight. Tomorrow they will finish decorating them and we will get some photos printed so that they have something special they made! I also got out the Frisbees I brought with me and of course they knew what to do with them right away (they all charged outside!)