Tuesday, April 22, 2008

conversations w/ Peter installment II

We rode with Peter again today ... he did not fail to entertain, inform or share strong opinions.

1. I asked him what he thinks about the Prime Minister being asked to leave (fired) and if he supports Preval or if he still likes Aristide. He said, "Oh, I tell you what. I don't like or dislike any of them. My family tells me and I listen, not to get involved in politics, it is the way to end up dead. I think it is all corrupt and all of them, Duvalier, Preval, Aristide - they are all crooks. They're not interested in the best for the country or the people, just themselves."

*I am quoting ONE person, not claiming everyone feels this way. (Interesting thoughts on being too actively involved in the political process equaling danger though.)

2. Out of the blue Peter said, "I don't know why Haitians (keeping in mind he is Haitian) insist on stuffing their babies - it is crazy to do that when it is 90 degrees! Always a hat and socks and a blanket on the poor baby when it is so hot. I tell my wife and I tell my wife not to stuff our baby but every day I come home from work and there is the baby with a hat and all kinds of clothes on!"

When he says "stuff the baby" he means putting on a bunch of warm clothes and wrapping the baby up. It is true that I get lots of looks over not having socks on Lydie - and sometimes *gasp* I let her sit around in a diaper only!!!!! ;)

3. We were discussing his Mom and Dad who live in Florida and have for 40 years. He said that his Mom always calls him worrying. She hates that he is in Haiti and she worries about him and even more so his older brother who is also here in Haiti now. He said, "I told her - do what the chickens do. We were little chicks, you stayed right by us, you watched us you took care of everything. But now we are not little chicks, and like the chickens you need to not know about us anymore. Mama chickens don't know where their kids are anymore and you need to do that too. You will kill yourself worrying about us. Stop now. You did a good job now you are done!"

4. I was asking about some flirting I had seen between a 28 year old employee and some of the 6th grade girls. We talked about the cultural way of much older men choosing young women and even girls and how that is an accepted thing culturally. Peter said that yes, a 28 or even 50 year old man can choose a 13, 14, 16 year old girl and that as long as the family of that girl takes no issue with it - it is totally fine. Peter said that it "makes him sick" how that happens and is not seen as a problem or abuse. He said that if the family thinks the man will take care of the young girl, they feel that they might even be doing her a favor to allow the relationship.

We all hold our own cultural norms as the "best" way to do things. I am attempting to share culture without putting too much personal spin/opinion in --- but lets be honest, that is almost impossible.