It is Monday morning, and it is the first day that has started with no clouds - so it promises to be a hot one. We will try to finish up the two little projects we started Saturday. We'll finish using the paint we have left on the school, and Gary will work on the electrical system at the nuns' house. Already three people have requested meetings with us. Two are mothers of students who are in the University studying to be a doctor. We have some tough decisions to make.
God-willing, tonight at 3 am we start the drive to Cap Haitien... the first leg of our journey that will take us out of THIS world and back to the world we're accustomed to. While many things are the same here and there like the basic needs for shelter, food, love, sleep, etc., how we fill those needs is often a world of difference.
Shelter: their houses are all open to the air. They have no problem with it getting cold (although 55 would seem freezing to them), but more often they need that air flow to keep the house from getting too warm. The house is simply where you sleep and the few possessions you own are stored. Families sit outside... talking, singing, fixing each other's hair rather than each person having their own room and watching TV or surfing the web or talking on the phone. Which world is better???
Food: all the food has been BON! (good). Rice is served most meals along with a few beans or onions mixed in. The Poule (chicken) and Cabrit (goat) meat were particularly flavorful - and even the Conch they served us today was delicious (although a bit rubbery). There are always a selection of veggies and/or fruit available - and it seems that they have a new drink for us to try at LEAST once a day (including an alcoholic beverage they served us this morning for breakfast ;). We ate soup for breakfast and oatmeal for supper. We drink bottled water, which we still treat with chlorine drops as an added precaution. We wash our hands almost to the point of hypochondriacs to prevent spreading germs. So far, the only sickness we have had has been due to allergies or dehydration, so the precautions have been succesful so far. (along with all those prayers y'all are sending out on our behalf)
Sleep: noise is a constant. Roosters, dogs, goats, birds, people talking and pounding on things, sweeping, singing... and if a silent moment should happen upon them, they'll turn on a radio (when electricity is available). You either get used to it - or wear ear plugs. We sleep under mosquito nets to help prevent malaria and dengue fever (plus it helps Maddie to feel more secure that the spiders can't get to her). On the other hand, we have undoubtedly gotten more sleep here than at home - which shows that we CAN adjust to this slower pace of life. Which world is better?
One thing that we share is our Catholic liturgy. Even though we don't understand what is being said, the motions and timing are such that we always know what is going on and where we are in the Mass. Yesterday was Palm Sunday, and we got to participate in the procession from the other side of town to the church. I wonder what OUR community would think if we still did that? Mass lasted almost three hours... and I KNOW what our community would think if we did THAT!
While many things will remain the same when we get home, hopefully some of this place and these people will come home with us. We are not so different, but we live in two different worlds. May we continue to help them until our last day on the planet.