Our day started fairly early as we got up and ready to start our day Cazale-bound. My dad had an appointment in Port this morning so he dropped us off in Cabaret. Cabaret, for those of you who haven't been blessed enough to visit my home away from home, is a big town on Rt. Nat'l 1. Thursdays are market days so it was easy to find a tap-tap to take up the mountain to Cazale. Well, as easy as tap-tap finding can be. We were traveling with the worship pastor of the Lifeline church and his wife and new baby. We found a tap-tap fairly quickly and were off. My dad was sitting at the end of the road to make sure we passed by, and this is what he saw:
So I am
kind of extremely bummed that you can't see every single one of our traveling companions but just in-case you wanted to know, we were two of 21 in the back of the truck. I kid you not - the picture does it no justice.
Sharon Steen told me a joke in October that she heard from Haiti-regular Chris Buresch: Q. "How many people can you fit in a tap-tap?" A: "One more."
Brit and I kept looking at each other & bursting out laughing as we waited for the driver to believe he'd reached full capacity. Right when we thought that "one more" was no longer possible, they loaded three sacs of flour and one more person into the back. It was very entertaining and way fun! Si ou vle, ou ka rele mwen fou, men se vre, m te gen anpil amizman sou machine sa a. (If you want, you can call me crazy, but it's the truth - I had a lot of fun on that tap-tap. )
At one point in the ride, all but four of the passengers got off so that the truck could make it up a hill. It was good to get our feet out from underneath the three sacks of flour. Behind me I heard talking, they said "Look at those whites climbing up this mountain. They walk fast," because we were walking at the front of the group.
I'll be honest and say that I'm not always very eager to let-on that I speak Creole. Mainly because it is way more fun hearing the people around me talk about me, thinking that I don't understand. Later on (it's close to an hour ride up), I decided to let-on a little bit and started answering the questions that they were asking each other about me/us. That was very funny and then they laughed but wanted me to display my Creole skills and have me answer a bunch of questions about myself. I am recommitting to my policy of not letting-on; I'd much rather hear people talk and guess about me then tell them myself. The whole thing was very entertaining and an adventure in itself.
Lori and Licia have been very busy and seeing/treating crazy/interesting things like it's no big thing. If you haven't checked in a while, you should read Lori's blog. We spent the day circulating around the clinic and rescue center. We got to check in on Sophia (the baby we took care of for several weeks last spring) so it was good to see her and love on her a bit.
We also sat in on consultations in the exam room where all pregnant ladies and young babies are seen. That is one of my favorite rooms. (yeah right - I love the whole clinic/atmosphere of the Zachary's clinic so I could never decide) I was able to understand pretty much all of what was being said by the nurse/patient(s) and then translated it for Brit.
It is really eye-opening to listen to some of the education the nurse was giving - stressing simple things - like the importance of bathing (to prevent rashes) and clipping nails (to prevent diarrhea) - is essential here. "Common sense" health care does not really exist, well at least not universally. I really love the education part of health-care in the third world.
We got to change several burn dressings, detach a 3-mo old's tongue from the bottom of his mouth (it is kind of hard to explain and I'm sure there's some medical term but I don't know it), and watch an abscess be incised and drained. It was a really fun day; I think we both wished we could have stayed longer. But no, another tap-tap adventure awaited us. On the way down we were only two of seventeen. I know, sooooo not impressive, right?
When we got back to La Digue, we went down to baby Lovely's house and got to sit inside of her and her grandma's house. It was great just holding her and getting to visit with her grandma. Lovely is doing so well, she is two and a half months old and weighs close to 12 pounds now. Lovely's grandma has really been wanting to braid my hair (I'm not sure why) so I think we are going to go back to her house again tomorrow and do that.
Today's adventure left me feeling excited about my random... Weird...Exciting life and entertained by the whole method of public transportation. Our back-sides are seriously bruised. Who knew tap-tap riding could leave you feeling like you lost a bad fight. When I asked the other Brit how she felt, she said 'exhausted and glad to be alive.' So she's not quite as American-Haitian as me ;) but I was so proud of her and how willing she was to go on an adventure with me.
I cannot imagine being anywhere else at this point in my life; I am so thankful for the opportunity I have to live here and be exposed to a whole different way of life. Many people ask me if I honestly do like living here or if I ever miss the whole high school 'experience.' I think that those who know me well know this already, but I have never been happier or felt more content. I definitely feel that this is where God wants me and enjoy feeling fulfilled in Him. As my sweet and smart baby sister Hope put it a long time ago, "Every day is an adventure!"