Sleeping in Haiti is always a challenge for me and many of the team members. The usual travel worries compounded by the excitement of being in Haiti makes it difficult to relax. This trip we were blessedly cooler than in April, with backup generators to power the fans all night. However the roosters in Haiti crow all night. I suppose roosters everywhere crow all night, but I am a city girl and I stupidly believed roasters crow only at dawn. In Montrouis last April the roosters were particularly annoying! But 2 tablets of benadryl and some good ear plugs can block out the crowing pretty well. (Things One Learns to Survive in Haiti).
Not so the dogs. Apparently the “rich, quiet neighborhood” of Village Theodat has it’s share of dogs as pets. These are unheard of in most of Haiti. The dogs we have seen before have been cowering, stringy animals who eat out of garbage piles in the street and couldn’t manage a loud whimper, let alone a good bark. Chris and Bev have 2 large bull mastiff dogs, whom Sienna called horses, and who became friends with the visitors quickly. Their neighbors also have dogs, and apparently nighttime is their social time. Chris and Bev swore to me it was not their dogs barking, but the other dogs across the street. They bark, says Beverly, at other dogs, at cars going by, at lizards, you name it. Through our bedroom window we heard them, incessantly. Makes a dog lover like me remember a line from the play about Tuna Texas, where Aunt Pearl makes dog treats with her “little strychnine pills” to poison dogs who get into her garden.
Speaking of sleep in Haiti, Bill Squire told me a nice story about being in Haiti 2 days after the earthquake. He somehow used his Episcopal church connections through the Dominican Republic to get transport to the soccer field in Port au Prince where the St Vincent’s kids and 3000 other people had evacuated, along with Bishop Duracin. As they were trying to rest that night in their tent, they could hear folks singing hymns all around them until about midnight. Bill told his friend, a dominican priest, that the hymns would start up again about 4 AM. His friend didn’t believe him. Sure enough. Bill has always told me that Haitians don’t need as much sleep as the rest of the world. I guess they have more time for praising God in difficult circumstances. So when I remember that story and I can’t sleep in Haiti, I try to thank God that I am alive and blessed enough to be able to share a little of their lives with these wonderful people.