It’s been days, maybe even weeks since I’ve really put anything of substance on here. Not that the pictures aren’t ‘substantial’. I suppose I just mean its been a while since I’ve put anything up that’s required much thought. I feel like I am often apologizing for absences in blogging. I have decided I am going to stop doing that. Instead I am just going to acknowledge to anyone reading this that I am busy. I am extremely busy. Everybody keeps asking me what I’m doing these days. I’m running the RMI Guest house. There has been a constant revolving door of guests; some here for a few days and some here for long periods of time. There’s been lots of nurses and more recently lots of physical therapists and prosthetists. There’ve been plenty of other sorts of people as well. But the flow of people hasn’t stopped. And an influx of people requires constant attention to every aspect of what happens at the Guest House. From scheduling guests, to preparing lists for market and grocery shopping to leaving whatever I’m in the middle of to go receive guests as they arrive. It’s been so busy that I’m making plans to turn the small apartment (two rooms, a bathroom and a partial kitchen) outback into more guests rooms. And I’ve got a new girl starting tomorrow to help the two ladies who’ve been pulling huge loads these last three months.
In recent weeks all the RMI staff has been preparing for the arrival of our new missionary family, the Thompson’s. Lots of preparations have been going into that; from getting their kitchen stocked with enough supplies to get them started, to planning a welcome party. They arrived Thursday, April 8 and since then I’ve spent a lot of time down at their house translating for them as they’re getting acclimated to their house staff and the guys who have been working on some repairs. I’m so happy to have them here.
In my spare time, I’ve also been trying to keep this blog updated, design a brochure for the Guest House, put together something special to send out as a 1 year anniversary update on life in Haiti and pass from 32 to 33 without much ado. I did get some really awesome packages from family and friends. (Thanks guys!!!!)
As life has returned to a more hectic state of busy, my visits at the hospital have all but come to an end. I miss those days terribly. Rita is still in the hospital. I have a couple other friends I have made more recently who are still there but she is the only original friend I have left there. But I just don’t have the same time to visit them as I had. I have seen many of my other friends briefly, in the last two weeks as they have been returning the hospital to receive their new legs and the physical therapy receiving a new leg requires. Many of them have been sleeping at the hospital again, so they haven’t had to come and go each day. Two weeks ago, when I walked in the physical therapy room (I had heard Frenel was there) I was so surprised to see Rose Marie, Regine, Olivier, Evans, and Roudy (with his mom).
(The succession of pictures- the smaller ones on the sides- was Frenel’s idea. He wanted to demonstrate the process of putting on his leg.)
(This is Olivier. The legs are in their first stages. Once the amputees are ready to begin wearing their prosthetics, they will be made to look like natural legs. Dr. June said almost every single one of the patients pulled her aside and asked her about this. Its an interesting process and she did share with me that once the legs are measured and finalized the patients cannot vary the height of heels they wear. They can change shoes but the heaes have to be the same height).
A day or two later I was back down for a short visit and saw Regine, standing on her new leg. I cried. She’s come so far. From what I hear from the therapists, she’s got a rough road ahead because she’s still struggling with depression and she’s having trouble adjusting to the new leg. The patients haven’t been giving their prosthetics yet. They work with them each day and leave them after each session. Most of the patients (my friends) are sent home each weekend and spend only the week in the hospital. Regine lives downtown so she is able to stay at home and comes and goes each day.
(Regine and me- in the Physical Therapy room at the Cite Lumiere Clinic)
Easter Sunday, Regine had a party at her house. And I was invited. I was a bit nervous about going because I didn’t know what to expect. Regine told me Dr. William was going and that I should call him to see if I could ride with him. I did. He was. And I did. Two of Rita’s daughters went as well. In the car on the way, Dr. William told me he wasn’t staying. As I was getting out of his truck he told me to call him when we were ready to come home. I felt 13. Although he didn’t stay, he sent three representatives; his three kids, and their ‘nanny’. The kids are 6, 4, and 3. There was lots of food at the party. And lots of people. I had met many of Regine’s friends and family at the hospital over the weeks and those I had never met, still greeted me by name. I wonder how they knew which one I was….It wasn’t as awkward as I thought it would be and I was so pleased to see Regine just doing normal life. She looked beautiful with her hair pulled back and she was wearing a pretty sundress. The party started at 3, we arrived about 4 and we left at 6. And when we left, everyone else was already gone. I’ve heard that here, once you eat, you leave. It’s good to know that for the future. Regine is supposed to be up at the hospital tomorrow again so I am looking forward to seeing her.
I was supposed to start teaching English yesterday at the “Wonderful University”. It didn’t happen. I was supposed to take a motorcycle taxi and arrive at the school at 7:45am. Class would start at 8. It was pouring rain yesterday morning at 7:15am. I couldn’t get a hold of him by phone even though I tried multiple times because I wasn’t going in the rain. Of course by 8:15 the rain had stopped for the day. He called me about 8:20 and asked me where I was. I told him all of that and he said he suspected it was because of the rain. From what I understand, it isn’t culturally atypical for people not to show up because of the rain. A lot of people take public transportation so when it rains a lot of things just naturally don’t occur. So it' wasn’t taboo for me not to show up. We’ll try again for next week. But before we start there are a few things I need to talk to him about. I need to negotiate my salary a little better. What he is offering me is not acceptable. While I’m not in this for the money, it at least needs to be worth my time. Right now, it isn’t. Especially if I am having to spend part of the money I earn each week on a motorcycle taxi. We’ll see how that conversation goes.
The Thompson’s welcome party was also yesterday. I had the ladies at the Guest House prepare a Haitian feast for the party. Griot (fried pork), banan peze, pikliz, akra (like a haitian hushpuppy), sweet potatoes and yams (two different things-neither of them like what we serve in the US when you ask for those things), macaroni and cheese, diri kole (beans and rice), sauce, and grilled chicken. I hung out with the ladies all after noon as they cooked and I got my first experience making banan peze. I was pretty exited. I can’t wait for the opportunity to try it for myself. The party was a great success. Kudos to the ladies. And Kudos to Rob and Becky and the kids for working so hard to get here!
And today, we went to the beach. It started out as a terribly rainy day. But we got word that where we were going was nice. I wouldn’t say it was sunny but it was just a little overcast and it turned out to be a really lovely afternoon. It started raining again once we hit Cayes. That was around 6. It probably stopped raining about an hour ago. Rainy season has begun.
We’ll see what this season holds.