Well, after an entire night of plane rides and minimal sleep, we arrived in Haiti in the early morning. We were picked up by Father Noe, the man that we are staying with, and drove through the streets of Port au Prince. There were no traffic lights, and a policeman stood in the middle of the road directing traffic. At times the cars were so unorganized that I was surprised they didn’t scrape up against each other. Other than that, the city was surprisingly lively. We had the windows down, and it was not uncommon to hear music playing loudly from inside shops. The buildings were painted bright, cheerful colors, as were the tap-taps; or public trucks used for transportation. Sort of like taxis. In fact, they were more works of art than vehicles; it made me want a car like that, too. (But I doubt Dad will let me paint colors like that on his brand-new company car. Maybe I can just draw pictures on it with marker or something.) I was surprised by how in touch the people were with God, as well. People had things like “I love Jesus” and pictures of crosses on their cars. I even saw a license plate (it wasn’t really a license plate) that said, “God loves you!” I think that’s pretty incredible, coming from a country as poor as Haiti.
From what we saw, the city was really small, considering it was the largest one in the country and comparing it to American cities. It was more like a town, and didn’t take long to drive through at all. Soon we were on a long road with few other cars and rolling hills surrounding us. Everything was so green! On the side of the road, you could see goats, cows, horses, and donkeys grazing. Some people tether their goats to the side of the road to let them feed, then bring them back at night.
So the drive to Hinche took about three hours. It’s pretty hot here; I didn’t even need a blanket when I slept last night. I was disappointed; the spiders are only average-sized (though I did see some that I’ve never seen before. It had sort of zebra stripes, it was awesome). Anyway, I am still keeping my fingers crossed for a tarantula. Also, at night, there are geckos that come out on the little bit of ceiling outside; I saw them on the window. Unfortunately, there was a large swarm of mosquitos outside, and as I didn’t want to get bitten, I didn’t try to catch them. Maybe they’ll be gone tonight. If I do manage to catch one, I’ll take a picture and post it up here so you all can see (they were very cute geckos).
In the morning, we went to church. The choir was beautiful; even better, actually, than the one in our own church (though we still have a pretty great choir). The service was interesting, as we couldn’t understand a word anyone was saying, and it was three hours long. It was pretty much the same, though, other than that. We had the Peace and took communion, recited the Lord’s Prayer (at least, I’m 90% sure it was the Lord’s Prayer), and the confession of sins (again, fairly sure).
Anyway, we walked around the town a bit, and Father Noe introduced us to some of the people who lived there. They were all very friendly.
I really should’ve studied my Creole better, though. They speak a little French, but as I haven’t taken a foreign language class in three years, I was pretty much stuck with the basics like “bonjour” and “merci” (if I’ve spelled them correctly). Fortunately Father Noe can translate for us.
I am also having a lot of trouble with the stray dogs. I was allowed to pet one, who was someone’s pet dog, but he was still in pretty bad shape. Mom started freaking out about halfway through, though, because he had fleas and she was worried I would catch the bubonic plague or something. Seriously, grown-ups worry way too much. Anyway, after several hours of begging on my part, she said we can go out and buy some bread that I could feed the strays, as long as I set it right in front of them and walked away without petting them. Well, I’ll take what I can get.
So, I’m sure I’ve bored you all enough by now with my rant. Since this is the whole “well, we’re here” post and I have to tell you guys all about Haiti, the others probably won’t be this long. Even though I’m a little homesick, it’s a really fascinating country. Mom is already talking about coming back in a few years.