Haiti. I arrived home over a week ago. Of course I have had lots of emotions and overwhelming feelings throughout the whole trip and now back at home. My health has improved and I feel an incredible freedom to go and to do without as much fear of being ill. I adjusted to not being able to speak the language and either found someone to translate or talked with my hands and eyes. Coma ou rele? What is your name? The problem with asking someone their name is you have to be able to understand what they say back to you. I didn’t understand too many names. Merci…I almost told the bartender at the wedding we went to last weekend when he handed me a chardonnay.
I expected a dirty, smelly, sticky environment and people. What I found were dirty streets full of rubble, gravel and dirt (which I also experienced digging out of a team member’s large knee gash). I didn’t think it smelled too much. I remember another country smelling worse. One of the directors at a project we visited, not one of RRC’s, was hoping that I would take pictures of their bathroom situation so that I could entice someone in the US to help them get a new toilet for the children. He didn’t want me to get too close to the outhouse because he said it smelled too badly. I think he appreciated that I was willing to go closer because “I am a nurse, I’ve pretty much smelled it all”. He smiled from ear to ear. Humility? Maybe, or maybe smells don’t really bother me as much as they used to. There was one smell one afternoon that reminded me of my grandparents home. It was a good smell. It smelled something like a cross between what was being cooked, coffee, soap…who knows, but it was a good smell.
The people we met were clean. Shirts ironed. Dress shirts or polos, long pants for those who are working class. Other wear what they have, teeshirts with every sort of logo. The older women only skirts, the younger ones pants or short skirts. Their city is dusty and maybe they don’t get to wash their things often, but they seem to take care of themselves. The children would come in from the field playing in the dirt and dust and the mamas would rub their legs down so that the dust wouldn’t stay on them. One little angel had the best smelling hair. Maybe it was just being proud of how well these children are cared for with the money our sponsors at RRC give every month, but it made my heart glad that these babies could be clean.
It is a sweaty world. The people would carry handkerchiefs to wipe the sweat off their faces. We survived and thrived and now being home I haven’t felt like it’s been too hot. I can walk outside and not be soaked. I can shower and feel fresh hours after. What a blessing!
These pictures below: the dirt and garbage along the roadside, the outhouse from the project and part of the city.