|From Haiti Adventures|
As most days here start I rolled out of bed to the nuns singing in preparation for mass. Rather than being smoten(?) by a lightning bolt I roll out of bed and take the necessary 15 steps to go to mass. The priest today is my favorite so we’re already getting off to a good start.
My mind wanders to thoughts of Port Au Prince, Pizza, learning to program in Java (I’m a dork), and obviously my lovely girlfriend, Shannon. Why pizza you ask? Well, a few days prior, the sisters had asked me what my FAVORITE food was. I answered like any good America pizza and they promised to make me some before I left!
Following mass and breakfast, I wander looking for children to play with (usually one of the ones in the picture Ose right, or Wood left) or my books to study Creole (notice the capitalization). Renel stopped me to ask, “Eric, you want to go to Cap Haitian with us?” Excited to get off the compound I hurried into the car. The car pulls away as the munchkins grab onto the side repeating their mantra, “Eric Gade’m”.
A lack of the usual near-death experiences made for a pleasant ride. Without my life flashing before my eyes, I’m able to focus learning Creole with Renel and the bustling Haitian market place (which is located in the middle of the street). One of our stops was to get bread and PIZZA!
I admit it I enjoyed it, so sue me I'm no saint and I just love pizza.
Returning to the house I asked Renel (In the pic on the left) if we could go see the orphans again. Smiling he went to ask Sr. Gloria if we could borrow the car. A quick answer and we are off to see the orphans and Smiley-Mc-Smilerton. This time I got them all to make faces “Fe Makak”.
Smiley-Mc-Smilerton (in the other picture with his tongue hanging out) would glance at the pastor to make sure he wasn't looking then give me the best face he could muster. Afterwards we'd all laugh as we looked at the pictures. This process repeated 18 times (yup I counted). I gave the pastor some cash for food and we left.
Feeding 1 orphan for a week: ~$10
Pants from Northface: $60
Plane ticket to Haiti: $400
Camera from that I'm borrowing: Duh free
Pictures of orphans: Also free (see bullet above)
Never hearing this little diddy again: priceless
Later that evening Jean-Robert swung by for a Creole/English lesson. He brought a book with him and would point out words he didn't understand, like blushing. Living in a nation of blacks he has never seen skin that becomes darker due to sun, embarrassment, or anger. For a Haitian to redden their skin they get surgery (Michael Jackson's living legacy). I tried to demonstrate that my face turns red by holding my breath. He looked more baffled than ever but I tell myself he understood.
After our lesson I got the unique experience of watching a Haitian movie. The movie was corny and fun to laugh at, but I actually got to experience life with JR, Sippo, Nata, Ose, and the security guard. For once I wasn't the center of attention and I got to just sit and relax with my friends.
That night the sister's had made a pizza. It was absolutely amazing. They asked if it was the best pizza I'd ever had and unable to lie I said no. However, it was darn good and I told them as much! The sauce was a blend between tomato and buffalo chick sauce. The crust was fresh Haitian bread which is amazing. Only the cheese and and meat needed some attention. Given the situation I could NOT have asked for more. It made that day one of the best and I fell asleep feeling less like a stranger.