I felt very “local” today.
Every two months the Church District which Picot Church is a part of has a program for the women of the church. All the ladies come together early in the day and sing together, pray together, listen to a sermon, and then eat lunch together. All the women that come bring all sorts of food, and set it on the table and its there to share with everyone. After lunch there is more singing, they take care of some “church business” like head counts, offering, etc. and then they do a Bible drill to see who can find Bible verses first. It was a lot of fun to be a part of. I mostly watched and took pictures but enjoyed it a lot.
Yesterday morning at breakfast Madam Pas asked me what I wanted to take for our contribution of food. I really had no idea what to suggest but she suggested pizza and I said OK. So, yesterday afternoon she made pizza dough and I helped prepare the toppings and we made pizza. She covered the dough, first with a light coating of mustard, and then with a bottle of ketchup. She said she prefers ketchup to the “American Version” of sauce. I shredded parmesan cheese, and chopped up slices of ham and hotdogs (Haitians use hotdogs for a lot of things- you’d be surprised how great they taste with spaghetti for breakfast!). She chopped up onions, and red and green bell peppers. We layered all ingredients on the dough and then she covered it all with what she called “Kraft” cheese. And it actually is Kraft cheese. Its some kind of white American cheese. Its the kind you buy in the states from the deli. Here, you can buy the whole block or you can buy it in smaller chunks.
That's what we made and that's what we took. There were LOTS of bananas, and bread. There were a few fruits and veggies. Some ladies brought coffee. I ate pizza, bread, a banana, and I tried for the first time something Madam Pas was calling “……”? It looked sort of like brazil nuts but tasted more like boiled peanuts. If I can figure out what to call it, it might be one of my new favorite foods!
The church is about a 40 minute drive by motorcycle taxi. Its a very difficult route, through a lot of Haiti’s back roads, which is also through some of Haiti’s most beautiful terrain. The route was spotted with sections of fairly steep inclines covered in rocks, sections of deep red dirt, a few pot holes, and a couple, albeit brief, sections actually covered in smooth concrete (3 sections about 10 feet long). Because it is a difficult and long journey, you can’t just find any taxi driver. You have to hire someone who is experienced on that road. Our driver’s arrived on time this morning, at 7:45. I road on the back of one, and Madam Pastor and another lady from the church shared the other. I don’t know how she did it but the other lady rode side saddle behind Madam Pas, the entire way. A lot of Haitian Women travel that way but I’ve not been brave enough to try it. And I most certainly couldn’t have done it on the route we took today. What the road lacked today in comfort it made it up for in its beauty. I wish I had been able to take pictures b/c I don’t even think I can adequately describe what I saw. Many of the roads were narrow, and packed smooth with deep red dirt and overhead was a lush tropical cover of trees, and flowers. We passed small concrete houses, and small straw huts, many of which, despite their humble presence sat pristinely in the midst of beautifully manicured lawns. The valley below us was lush and green as well and the sun-bounced off the mountain peaks effortlessly. Although some of the terrain was rough and hard on the body, I was actually little melancholy when the ride was over, because it was so beautiful.
For the ride back, the driver who had taken Madam Pas and her friend wasn’t able to make it so he sent someone in his place. Although he was a fine driver, he had forgotten one very important thing before he set out. He forgot to fill up his gas tank. And so, in the middle of almost nowhere, with Madam Pas and her friend in tow, he ran out. My driver and I were a few yards ahead, around a bend when we heard him call out. My driver slowed to a stop and in about 30 seconds we saw Madam Pas walking up the hill smiling. Not far behind her was the other driver, and her friend pushing the motorcycle up the hill. Another of the ladies at the service had taken a taxi in and she and her driver had stopped as well. My driver had a sufficient amount of gas and was able to empty some of his gas into a metal mug that one of the other guys had found in the brush. As the drivers crowded around “my bike” I told the delinquent driver that he was in luck because I had my camera. Everyone laughed including him but I not sure he was really keen on the idea. I told him for $10 bucks, I’d make sure I didn’t show the picture to anyone else and he laughed and said he’d give me $10. He started his machine and we all started out again. A little ways down the road he stopped and put a little more gas in the tank. Hopefully he learned his lesson and it won’t happen again. Madam Pas and I had a good laugh together and made a great memory.
After we got home, we were both exhausted. Madam Pas didn’t get any rest because Pastor was home and she had things to do around the house. But I was able to take a nice long nap. I didn’t realize how tired I was until I woke up from a two hour nap. I guess that's what happens when your day starts at 5am. It wasn’t by choice but there was lots of noise in my room- as there has been every day since my arrival. Most days it hasn’t been quite as early. But I’ll post about that later. I’m exhausted again and I”m going to bed.
This thinking in two languages is making me tired.
All in all, a very lovely day.