Great Haiti Adventure: Day 7
It is Sunday. My body has continued to ache so I made my way to the rooftop for some yoga. A few people stopped to watch from the foot paths; in this country where people need to conserve every possible calorie, I must look like quite an oddity. I was a tiny bit embarrassed, but I felt so much better afterward. After I was finished one of the young men in the village brought fresh coconuts to Dad and me. He sliced 2 open so that we could drink the fresh coconut water. Yet again I am touched by the generosity!
The new priest, Father Dachemy came to our village of Garcin to celebrate Mass this morning. I put on a dress and Dad reminded me to cover my shoulders with a scarf. We walked down the path to the chapel. A woman who I hadn’t met grabbed me and kissed me. She was proud to escort me into the church. We were seated to the side of Father, a place of honor. Though the mass was in Creole, I was able to somewhat follow along, and it was beautiful. The children sat on one side of the church and the adults sat on the other side. Most of the children wore their school uniforms because they don’t own dressy clothing.
As Father finished mass, he invited us to join him in front of the congregation. He introduced us and translated as Dad assured everyone that Denise is doing well and that she sends her love. Everyone applauded. He introduced me as a nutritionist who was assessing the food we’re feeding the school children. They applauded again. I was, and am, humbled.
After mass, Dad and I hurried back to the apartment to prepare a meal. We had scheduled a meeting with Father, 2 of the school directors, and Sofia to translate, We needed to feed our guests. I wonder what they thought when they saw us carry out platters of blueberry pancakes, syrup, real butter, and bacon? It was a feast to be sure!
We had another successful meeting, addressing concerns about the new market and limited funds to buy food for school lunches. It will be really important to keep cost in mind when I make recommendations for optimum nutrition. I am nervous about this project. There are a number of barriers:
Everything is measured in marmites (an overflowing #10 can). I came across another measurement today too: gode--a mug full!
Translating from Creole to English
Getting cost information on the food
No standard recipes
Budget of about 17 gourdes/child/day. For reference, $1 US = about 70 gourdes
But there are a number of blessings too:
Sofia has been an amazing translator
Dad and Denise have developed trust in the community, which allows me to talk to the cooks, including weighing and measuring. They have made tremendous inroads during the 20 years they’ve been working in Haiti
The new market begins on Tuesday and I will get to visit
I am humble and earnest. I know my efforts will be blessed
After our lunch meeting, we said our goodbyes, and Father Dachemy even asked me to move to Haiti! I smiled and told him that I do love his country and I hope to return. And I find that I do.