Friday, April 18, 2008

conversations w/ Peter

Troy and I were riding with Peter yesterday. After the ride I asked Troy why he never writes any of the conversations down. There is ENDLESS blog material in an hour ride with Peter. I was in the backseat shooting Troy looks in the rear view mirror the entire time.

Just to re-cap some of the quirky cultural oddities ...

1. Troy was telling Peter how a super nice guy was helping him fix a tire on Sunday. Another guy came along and started griping at Troy and yelling at him that he had parked too close to the side of road and would cause an accident. (This is funny in and of itself because we all know there are no safety precautions when it comes to driving in Haiti - but this guy was apparently terribly concerned- the self-appointed safety police of Arcahaie.) So, the guy fixing the truck got up and told the guy who was griping that he better knock it off and if Troy were not a white guy he would never be hassling him in the first place. Troy said, "Yeah, I thought that was pretty nice of the guy fixing my truck." Peter said, "Well, that angry guy was stepping on his money." That had not really occurred to Troy. The guy fixing the tire did not want Troy to move away therefore causing him to lose a way to make some money. None of us like it when someone "steps on our money." :)

2. Peter has a daughter that is two weeks older than Lydie. I asked how she was doing and if she had any teeth yet. He said, "No she does not have teeth but boy she puts everything her mouth. I just cannot keep her from it. So I give her a chicken leg to chew on. Oh she has chicken all over her face and head. She just loves to chew on a chicken leg." So, when the Pediatrician recommends adding in fruits and vegetables, maybe some Cheerios at six months - they are forgetting to tell you about the chicken legs. According to Peter this is excellent baby food.

Peter's son is named Nakim. Originally, they named their new baby girl Clessia - after one of Peter's sisters. Recently we heard him calling her a different name. He told us he changed it to Mikan and said "I wanted her name to be like Nakim, but backwards. See what I did there?" We see, but still think it's odd. We can't be too critical, however, because we thought about naming Lydia something different. Like Haon. See what we did there?

and the sad one ...

3. Peter was talking about a particular kid in our village. Like lots of kids his family is kind of a mess. The kid is constantly in trouble. Peter said, with no shock in his voice, no disbelief - just sort of telling a normal every day story, "Yeah, Edmond must have been stealing because his hand was all wrapped up from his mother sticking it in the charcoal." He might as well have been saying, "Yeah Edmond got a timeout." Harsh punishment is a cultural norm. Troy says there is a Haitian proverb about this ... it is something like, "Timoun se ti bet" which basically means little children are little animals. The punishment for misbehavior is terribly harsh and totally accepted.

I rarely ride around town with Peter, I told Troy he needs to travel with pen and paper and take notes.