Great Haiti Adventure: Day 8
Today marks a week in Haiti for me. In some ways it feels like it’s been more like a month. Life is like that. Every single thing here has been new. None of the routine of my normal life. Usually I’m lucky to experience something new once a day or once a week. With about 20 new experiences each day, no wonder it feels longer.
We have mostly taken today off. Dad did have a visitor this morning, but other than introducing myself, I elected not to join in. It seemed like a more private conversation.
Afterward, Dad agreed to drive to Gros Morne to let me go to the market. I had heard that big name designers sometimes donate clothes here rather than see them sell cheaply in the U.S. I thought it would be so much fun to find a few items to sell on eBay, or maybe to wear myself. In the end I only found one DVF dress but it was still fun. The market crowded both sides of the street and wove down little alleys. Motos sped down the middle of the road as pedestrians dodged in and out. More than once Dad reminded me to stay out of the road.
We walked past the stalls as the sellers called out “Blanc, blanc.” This is their word for white person. Sometimes we just kept walking. Sometimes we responded, “M pa pale Creole” (I don’t speak Creole).
I had just finished telling Dad that I would really like to buy another avocado (zaboka) when I looked down and there was one literally lying at my feet. I looked around to see if someone had dropped it, but there were no signs of that, so I stooped to pick it up. I was delighted; I asked and there it was! Apparently my picking it up was a bit of a superstitious faux pax because one of the Haitian ladies who was shopping the stalls at our same pace couldn’t stop talking about it. Dad speaks a little bit of Creole and could understand some of her words. But I figure, why would I waste a perfectly good avocado? I’m glad I could entertain her. I’m even more glad Dad and I can share another fresh avocado for dinner!
While in town we also went to the bank. I will never again take Regions for granted. The bank stands behind a locked gate with 3 guards. Once inside, it took us a solid half hour, maybe 45 minutes. We went into a little room with a guy who spoke limited English. Dad had written down 3 transactions, but they had to review them many, many times. One of the transactions was to convert some US dollars to Haitian gourdes. The banker returned with one of the nearly perfect US bills and said it was “bad money.” There was a tiny tear in the corner. I am writing as if this is all a hassle, but truthfully, it is wonderful that this little town has a bank and that Dad can transfer money to the priests here.
We also went in search of wifi. I’ve sold several items while in Haiti, but I put in place an extended handling time so that I can ship when I get home. One of my buyers messaged me and asked me to ship the item asap. I walked Colin through where to find the item and after several attempts to find a signal, I was able to generate a shipping label. BTW, we finally found the signal at a nonprofit ministry where Dad knows the director. The director wasn’t there, but the Haitian ladies agreed to let us in. They didn’t know the password, so we found the router. But, the password had been rubbed off and the reset button didn’t work. We packed up to leave and walked into the director’s office to leave a note. He’d written the password on a dry erase board. Eureka!
We stopped for egg sandwiches before leaving town. My 3rd time since coming here. These sandwiches are scrambled eggs with slices of raw onion and pepper and sometimes tomato between slices of round Haitian bread. The bread is slightly char grilled. They are so good! And less than 200 gourdes (<$3) for 2 sandwiches and 2 drinks!
And now, an afternoon rest. I’ve grown fond of this little luxury!