Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Where Odd Abounds ...

When Weird Is Not As Weird Anymore ...

  • Tap-taps drive on the sidewalk on Kenz Oktobe all the time. It is never a surprise to look up and see a truck barreling toward you. Five minutes down the sidewalk it is not uncommon to pass a lady who looks like she stepped out of the Old Testament riding a donkey with a wooden saddle. Today a side mirror clipped my hip as I was running and neither I or the driver found it worth discussing or even acknowledging.
  • Last night we went to dinner at a restaurant. The server used a bug zapper racket over our table, our heads, our conversation. He bumped Troy with the zapper on more than one occasion. None of us found it odd or even annoying.
  • At the little store near our house I asked for a bag of ice (in Creole) - The lady rang it up and the guy bagging the groceries corrected me by naming the BRAND of the ice ... not allowing me to simply call it Ice - apparently you have to call it Penguin. And it is fun to correct the foreigner. He then asked (in Creole) if I was French. I said "No, not French." He said "Are you Canadian?" I said, "Nope not Canadian." He said, "Are you American?" I said, "That's it!" He said, "Oh because I love Americans ... (long pause) I REALLY love them." Okay. Well thanks! It seemed like a very normal exchange. But now that it is three hours ago I am thinking maybe it was not all that normal. (Plus, I think he really loves the French and Canadians too.)
  • After a recent run Beth asked me if I saw the giant dead Rottweiler that we ran by. I said, "No, I saw no such thing." She asked how I did not smell it even if I did not see it? Lots of things smell like rotting dead dog on a run. I do not avert my eyes from the path two feet in front of me. I do not discern one horrible smell from another.
  • True Conversation- Me- "Your baby did not gain weight. If he had eaten everything we gave you he would have gained weight." The Mom- I could not give him the Mamba because I don't have any vitamins. (Oh, okay, sure, that makes perfect sense.)
  • A dark green swimming pool can be transformed into crystal clear water in one week flat.
  • August and September seem to be the roughest months for humidity at night. Most nights our bedroom thermometer tells us it is 90 degrees with 65% humidity. That is not outdoor temp, but the cement holds heat and then said cement dumps the heat out onto our weary bodies all night long. Troy and I are busy finding ways to stay cool. We bring ice packs to bed, we try to sit in the center of a three-fan vortex, we only allow our pinkies to entwine, we get creative. But- Our child is odd. He loves socks. We don't buy them anymore, because we live in the Caribbean and we wear sandals. He has these two socks remaining from his short time in Minnesota in 2007. He goes to bed with them on most nights. He is mad when they cannot be located. After he is asleep, I sneak in and take them off. In the morning he finds me to complain that he was cold and I should not have taken his socks off without his permission.
  • Today I sat in the back of the room laughing at how absurd it was for me, as a Mom, to hear Paige translating a lesson all about birth-control and sex and pregnancy and STD's and the realities for women in Haiti. A 14 year old speaking to a group of women about many methods of b.c. including, abstinence, Depo, birth control pills, condoms, Natural Family Planning and more ... The bizarre nature of it caused me to grab my camera and capture a little video. Paige did a good job of ignoring her immature mother. :) After we talked about all the options we had a quiz/game at the end of class. (Beth teaches, today Paige translated. Beth speaks Creole -- but Paige speaks street Creole and seems to be understood so having her translate was more effective.)
Now that I spliced together a few clips from the class, I am realizing that you have no context and it might cause some to jump to conclusions. To avoid that, please know that this clip is missing 95% of the class. We teach side effects, and the full scope of each option. This is a few small pieces without any context. Yes, we teach that abstinence is the only way to assure that you don't get pregnant or get a disease. In this culture women do not necessarily get to choose that. Married women very often face dealing with a spouse that has other women on the side. It is necessary to give them other options based on the culture. I know some will disagree -- and that is your right -- but in our program we believe we need to face what is true and real in the culture. The point of offering birth control is to give the women some control in their difficult situations that might improve their lives. We believe that a woman that has two kids she can provide for is much better off than a woman who has eight that are all unable to go to school or be sufficiently fed.