There are many things about visiting Haiti that are memorable and unique, and some are downright funny. Like the toilet paper that is so thin you can see through it. Really. Also the experience of washing off all the dust and dirt in a cold shower, so you can come out and cover yourself with sticky bug spray. Then there is the terrifying ride through Port au Prince when Ronald is driving. Ronald Noel is one of the school administrators, and he was one of our drivers, along with Lionel, who also works for the school. It took 2 vehicles to shuttle us back and forth between the guesthouse and the school every day, and everyone preferred to ride with Lionel if at all possible. Ronald would slam on the gas pedal anytime there was more than 10 feet between him and the car in front of us, then slam on the brake just before running over a pedestrian or the back of another vehicle. Ronald also loves to drive on the left hand side of the road, especially if the cars on the right hand side of the road are not moving quickly. He would somehow manage to squeeze back into the line of cars just before driving straight into an oncoming vehicle. He takes turns at tire screeching speed, throwing all the occupants to one side of the vehicle. Amy suggested that he must be making a bet with Lionel to see who got to the guest house first. It was usually a 50-60 minute ride, and Ronald could do it in 35 minutes. Evidently the only rule for drivers in Haiti appears to be this: if there is an available space, fill it.
Some of the facts of life of Haiti are even more obvious upon returning to the states. This morning I took my second HOT shower in 12 hours. I swatted a fly earlier and didn’t immediately think of grabbing the bug spray. There are trash cans in all the bathrooms and even one in the kitchen! (there appear to be no trash cans in Haiti, they seem to dump all the trash directly into the street).
Here are some memories from our recent trip which may be funny only to those who were there at the time, if you know what I mean:
Nick Pesce was the only team member to bring his own beer cozy
Famous quotes from team members include the following:
Nick: “Did I tell you I only work with adults? Susan–Did I tell you this was an orphanage?”
Wes: “Its like when you’re in college and you wake up in the morning and you have beer and you have cheerios, then you have beerios…and you realize it wasn’t such a good idea.”
Sonya – after being patted down at the airport, “Dude, I don’t even let my husband touch me like that!”
Amy – looking through her many suitcases, “I know I have it somewhere.”