I stood in the bathroom this morning for a while, just listening. My bathroom is at the front of the house and faces the direction of the small road leading to other missionary houses below, as well as in the direction of town farther out in the distance. If I strain my eyes and the weather is clear I can see Ile La Vache and the ocean out the window. Standing there, I was reminded of my first day in Haiti. While I am much more familiar with the sounds of Haiti now than on my first day, it has been awhile since I’ve heard them. In the states we live in houses with locked wooden doors and closed windows. In Haiti we lives in houses with open windows and screened front doors which means we hear most everything. Haiti, or at least the places I frequent, has a very distinct soundtrack. Roosters, cows, barking dogs, diesel engines, motorcycles, and horns. Being in a place that's so open these sounds are a real and intricate part of every day life. As I stood there this morning, I heard the sound of water running from the hose and the voice of Rameau, the gardener, standing in the front yard talking to one of our house ladies in the kitchen. Hearing his voice made smile. Down in the valley, the cows mooed, and of course, an obligatory rooster crowed. You know, I actually don’t mind the roosters as long as they’re not in close proximity to where I am. It’s a very natural part of the acoustical landscape and can at times be almost charming.
I stood there in the bathroom for at least a minute. I was taking it all in sort of like taking in a deep breath, only, with my ears. I would like say that I was standing there enjoying that moment and all its delectable acoustic goodness. But truth be told, it was more like one of those moments when you know you have to jump feet first into ice cold water and you’re bracing yourself for the shock. I was indeed enjoying the sounds of the morning but it was really mostly that I was avoiding jumping into a cold shower. The first one is always the hardest.
Despite the shock of the cold shower this morning, all in all, it has been a fabulous first two days. Yesterday, I had great traveling companions, I got to see parts of Port au Prince I had never seen before, I was able to visit with one of my dear friends, Jenn, and share a really great meal with her, Gary and Benjamin on the way back to Cayes, and I arrived in Cayes to find my room clean and my sheets freshly changed and awaiting my arrival. Today was a beautiful day with a nice breeze and gorgeous skies. I caught up with our ladies and Rameau, saw some of the RMI staff, got gas in my four wheeler, had a delicious lunch, unpacked my bags (though arranging what came out of them will happen another day), chatted with lots of ladies at Ladies Tea, made a new friend, and got to talk on the phone with a couple of ‘already’ friends. Over a nice dinner of lentils, homemade German sour dough bread, cabbage salad, and fresh tomatoes, Suzanne and I caught up on our time out of the country and talked of computers and cellphones.
A church service down the hill just ended not too long ago and the preacher could be heard on the PA system all the way up here. The church is in the valley below. Dogs scuffle, a cow moos, and off in the distance the sound of traffic is a dull but steady hum, or maybe that’s the water pump. Or maybe a little of both. Sometimes its hard to tell. Right now the air is filled with the sound of crickets chirping. I love that I can sit in my room and hear all of that. Cold showers notwithstanding, I love the sounds of Haiti. I love being here.
I love being home.