Friday, May 1, 2009

The First 24 hours

The sound of pots and pans are clinking in the kitchen, a busy village can be heard in the valley below and off in the distance a rooster crows. Annette, one of the Haitian ladies who works here at the house, just came outside to pick fresh fruit from a tree in the yard and behind me is a big garden. Bubba, a big black lab, sleeps three feet from me. I am sitting at the picnic table in my back yard underneath a sprawling tree, overlooking a lush green valley that stretches for miles. Just beyond the valley is a mountain range covered in clouds. There is a Haitian proverb that says, “Deye mon, gen mon.” Beyond the mountains, there are mountains. This mountainside is now home. Another rooster crows; it is 11:43am. I have been in Haiti approximately 24 hours.

I slept well last night. I don’t often sleep well in new places, at least the first couple nights until they become familiar. I suppose I was just exhausted from yesterday. I left for the airport in Jacksonville at 4:15am. I arrived in Cayes, Haiti at approximately 5pm. I spent 13 hours in transit; about 5 hours in the air and 7 hours in airports, waiting. They don’t have daylight savings time so for half a year we are an hour behind here.

The Moses family met me in Cayes, fed me dinner, and sent me home with some Diet Coke. My new roommates, Beth and Susanne are wonderful. They have both been in Haiti for many years. Beth is from Ohio and Susanne is from Germany. I have my own bedroom, bathroom, and a walk in closet with lots of shelves for storage. In my bedroom there are two twin beds, a small bedside table, a small desk, and a wooden chair. The kitchen and living area are shared as is a large covered patio space and this outside patio where I sit now. The garden behind me is ours. Susanne tends the garden with the help of another Haitian gardner who works here as well.

It is unusually mild for Haiti. Yesterday when I arrived in Port au Prince, it was 78 degrees. It even rained yesterday afternoon. There is a steady breeze. I have only broken a sweat twice since arriving. Once yesterday at the small airport in Port au Prince that is cooled only by fans and once this morning when unpacking my clothes. Experience assures me that it will at times be almost unbearably hot here. I am expecting nothing less. However, this weather is a lovely way to begin.

Bubba now lounges in a sunny patch out in the yard underneath a coconut tree. The smell of lunch is wafting through the air. The garden has yielded baskets of tomatoes and I believe tomato sauce was being made this morning. It smells delicious. Beth and Susanne will be home shortly for lunch and we will enjoy our first of many meals together. Life is going to be different here. Very different. What I have been met with here so far has been everything I expected and yet nothing like what I had pictured. I cannot reconcile that sentiment so I’ll have to be satisfied with leaving it at that. Perhaps that is because it is all still so new.

It is now 12:30pm. A hummingbird buzzes in a tree beside me, Bubba has moved back to the covered patio and I am ready to go eat lunch. The rooster crows; I am home.

1 comment:

Rob said...

Love it. Can't wait to see you Monday!