Thursday, January 7, 2010

Our First Week in Haiti: Photos, Part 2


This is the school's basketball court. Basketball rules here - no football team (sorry Texans). Each afternoon high school boys are playing. Quisqueya won the national title a year or so ago. The surface is this rubber matrix...judging by the sign on the back wall I think a bank sponsored the fancy court.
 
This is the art and music room. See the little handprints of elementary muffins:)
 
One playground. Not sure this would pass muster with those playground-safety people, but the kids seem to love it... It's a fun part of my day to be outside when the elementary kids are at recess. Their joy is explosive at something like bringing out hula hoops, or getting a new tetherball (until yesterday, they were playing tetherball with a water bottled tied to a pole - apparently the tetherball broke awhile back).
 
This is the net keeping soccer balls from flying onto the street. On the far left you can see the picnic tables where we all eat lunch outside everyday. The Haitian lunch food has been really good so far - I've liked every single thing! Oh, and the pineapple....divine.
 
On our second day here we went furniture shopping with Steve, and this was the view from the third floor of the furniture store. Port-au-Prince really is a bowl, and this shows some of the homes in the valley - just cement cube stacked on cement cube, as far as the eye can see.
 
Seeing our closet in our room for the first time.
 
I'm not sure what this pretty pink flower is, but there are six bushes of it growing in our courtyard behind our gate. This pic was taken from our front porch, looking across the street. We haven't met those neighbors yet.
 
This house is across the street also. Haitians do construction differently - when they get some money for the project, they build until they run out. Then they leave the project kind of sitting there until they get more money to build the next part.
 
The interesting blend of cultures in the Eagle market - Arabic custard powder.
 
We were shocked to do the math and realize this bottle of American whiskey costs $256 US! Divine the number of Haitian Gourdes by 40 to get US dollars. But its tricky, because sometimes the price is in Haitian Dollars (instead of Haitian Gourdes), which is a different set of exchange rates....
 
Anybody want a leg?
 
This is Sebastian, the youngest of the Hersey family who we stayed with for our first five days. This 7-year-old is pretty much a genius and can name you all of Shakespeare's plays.  He says French words like "croissant" in French, and he likes to play chess and geography quiz games.
 
Suzanna and Sebastian's doors. She reads like crazy, too. One day I was making my lesson plans for World Geography and we had a great conversation about the tiny republics in Europe like Andorra and Monaco, and also about the Iranian elections/student protests/Twitter situation earlier this year.
 
This is the Hersey's courtyard where we ate breakfast and lunch every day. Their next door neighbor is a voodoo priestess and she keeps doves and pigeons....possibly for sacrificial purposes.
 
This shower curtain is the thickness of Saran wrap. But, can you guess one reason I love it? Wine and blue for life.
 
This is our Culligan bottled water, and our little pump for drinking.
 
We got a kitchen table and chairs! This is where we spend most of our time in the evenings. We read, watch some movies, some episodes of The Office, listened to a Matt Chandler podcast or two, and write thank you notes and lecture notes for the next day.
 
This is an inverter - a set of 8 car batteries that get charged up whenever EDH (Electricity D'Haiti - public electricity) is on (a few hours a day, usually at night). This is what we power our house with most of the time. You can't use anything that requires heating up quickly (iron, curling iron) on the inverter. When the street light (singular) comes on, we know EDH is on, and we race to turn on the fridge.
 
Did you know that if you pour water from a bucket into the bowl of your toilet, it will flush? Oh yes.

Speaking of water - we haven't had it for the last two evenings. Have you ever gone without water for two days in your life? I hadn't. The way water works here is that there is a city water that very randomly comes on. It goes into a cistern somewhere on your property. Then each house has an electric pump that brings water from the cistern to your water tank on your roof, which then brings gravity-fed water to your taps.

Well, we don't think our pump is working... we have to wait until somebody named Mr. Smith comes back to Haiti today or tomorrow so he can help us figure it out.

So what happens when you don't have water? No shower. No hair washing. Spit bath with washcloth. Fighting over use of the two buckets of non-drinking water and very precious Culligan water. No cooking (can't wash dishes, don't want dirty dishes attracting bugs or mice) - eat a peanut butter sandwich. Try not to go to the bathroom - sitting urine starts to stink fast in a house with no air conditioning and 95 degrees.... Debate going on the bathtub drain?

Pleasant:)

We really, we're fine. I found out there's a Satphone in the teacher's lounge, talked to Mom yesterday for half an hour! Several people have given gifts to our support that we practically cry over, we're so grateful.

Plus, we still have about half a bag left of Sour Skittles.

Katie

2 comments:

  1. Craziness! We prayed for you last night at SG. Peyton led- he's the 4th string QB. :) Miss you guys and sending our love!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Praying for your water situation to be fixed soon! In the meantime, tinkle in the shower drain :)

    Mom

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