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Haiti-My first Medical Mission I'm helping Midwives for Haiti to educate skilled birth attendants. Haiti has the highest mortality rate in the Western Hemisphere. Here is where I will write daily journals of my adventure.

Day 9

HAITI | Wednesday, 16 November 2016 | Views [425]


Day 9-  City tour and relaxing day


I wake up to hearing the girls get ready for the day. Shani and I are in one bunk bed, me on bottom, Donna and Tiffany in another bunk. Emily is sharing a room with another volunteer, Sheila. She is from Oklahoma. I get up and I am hoping coffee has been made by someone. At home, I am usually the first person up. If my 8 year old son hasn’t already made it for me, I will make the coffee. I walk out and it has been made. There is not much options for breakfast, so I just have 2 slices of toast. The ladies are around the table talking. Joanne comes tells us to be ready at 1015 for a city tour on mototaxi. After breakfast I finish getting ready for the day and pack up my purse with things I may need. Shani lets me borrow one of her small water containers since I lost my water bottle.

We are alerted its time to go. The mototaxis are here. I get on a motorcycle with Tiffany behind me. We leave to house and head down a dirt, rocky road. People are walking and I see a lot of goats, donkeys, pigs and horses. Either tied up or being rode. The donkeys often have a lot of supplies they are transporting. I have sunscreen on because I don’t know how the sun will be and my shoulders easily burn. My sunglasses are put on, its good though because all the dirt is being stirred up from motocycles and cars. It’s hitting my eyes.I close my mouth and breath through my nose. The girls and I take pictures of others on mototaxis as we ride. This ride is so much nicer than the first ride. Our driver though is getting so close to pedestrians as we are riding along.  I am not sure why, the road is wide open. At on point I actually hit someone with my hand that was resting on my knee. Stings for me and when I look back the guy is rubbing the side of his abdomen. We ride through town, getting the usual looks we get when we go out. I can understand when people ask who we are and the driver says ‘Sage Femmes pou Ayiti’ or Midwives for Haiti. The organization is well known in Hinche. We stop at a small cart and our translator buys him and Emily a bottled water, .50 each! We then stop again at what looks like a park or a center. We get off the mototaxis and our translator, Keldy,  tells us a little bit about the history of the city and the center we are standing at. Back at the house before we leave, he tells us he teaches creole lessons for $5 per lesson and asks if we are interested. I am not. I can’t retain stuff that fast and I know this week will be busy, leaving not a lot of time to teach. He asks again while we are at the center if we are interested. We all politely decline. I can tell he is disappointed.

Across the street is an old church. He tells us the history and walks us over. We try to go in but it’s locked. He shows us an area that had been burned under a palm tree. He says that voodoo has happened here. People come to pray. We walk back to the waiting mototaxis and head out. We stop by the local market. This is where people come to sell their goods. It is disgusting. The stench as we walk up is horrible. There is rotten fruit and food on the ground and garbage everywhere. We go in and stop. Keldy says that we are not to take pictures. The vendors get very upset about it and want money for the picture. We walk through and it is very organized into sections. Shoes, clothing, misc goods like lotion, shampoo, cologne, batteries. Then we walk over to the food area. Fruit and vegetables, rice, bean and other food. Then we walk over to the meat area. All different kinds of meat are hanging, being processed and covered in flies. There are goats and pigs moments away from being slaughtered. Keldy tells us that most of the time they are slaughtered at home before coming to market and they bring it there to sell. But, sometimes they do it there. We walk over to the apparel area. There is new and used clothing. Emily says ‘this is where your clothes and shoes end up when you donate.’ We are done at the market and I am glad to be. It has a horrible smell and its making me sick. I put peppermint in my mouth to feel better. We walk out and get on the awaiting mototaxis.

We ride along and come to the massive cathedral. It is packed full and alot of people are standing. People are singing and the priest is speaking. We walk around to outside of the church and Keldy tells us it is the most beautiful church in the Caribbean. The usual looks are given to us and a few young girls follow us.

Next stop, the cemetery. Most burials are done near peoples homes but if you are rich, you get a proper burial and tomb. Most tombs have family members in them. We walk a little through the cemetery and we stop at a place where voodoo has been performed. There is burn marks and char on some concrete and rocks near some tombs. Keldy goes into detail about white and black magic and how it works. Pretty interesting beliefs here in Haiti. We are standing near 2 very small tombs of children. One maybe 2 to 4 years old and the other 3-5 years old. So sad. I start to walk around and look over to where the earth had recently been overturned. I think someone must’ve recently been buried here. Upon closer look, I see a human femur. It is one of a child. I look around more and soon realize that I am surrounded by human bones. It is a littl e creepy and I want to document it. I start taking photos and let the others know what I have found. They come and look. Keldy tells us that it is very common to bury someone and 3 months later come and dig it up and bury someone else. They have ran out of room in the cemetery. I see clothing in different stages of wear. This must be the clothing these people wore at burial. So sad to see. I get a little weirded out and I want to leave. We walk out to the awaiting mototaxis and head back to the MFH house. We are let in by security and we go and eat our awaiting lunch. It is pretty good too. Chicken drumsticks, rice with a yummy sauce, avocado’s and salad. Fresh squeezed lime juice. SO tart!! We add more water and sugar so we can stomach it. It tastes pretty good after we do that. The avocados here are the size of grapefruits and are so wonderful. I love them. The fresh salad is a nice treat too. We are supposed to do our breakfast and dinner dishes. The cooks are there still at lunch time so they do those dishes. There is bleach for rinsing our dishes and we are happy for all they do to protect us from sickness.

For the rest of the day we lounge around. Pretty boring and I really want to be doing something. Joanne calls a meeting and we go to the table and sit down. She hands us our schedules for the week and we go over everything. I am pretty excited about it all but apprehensive for going to the hospital. I ask what my role is there and she just said go with the flow and ask questions. She will be giving Emily and I a tour when we get there in the morning.

Joanne tells us there is a place we can walk out to and watch the sunset. The rules here are a little more relaxed than the were in Cabestor. We can leave the house but not when it is dark. She tells us where to go and all of us but Donna head that way. We walk for about 15 mins and come to this bluff where we saw a rainbow. The view was amazing! It was overcast and looked like it would rain soon. There were a few people around and we said hello to them. We walk back to the house and sat around the rest of the day. I am incredibly bored and feel like I need to be out doing things. The hurricane caused little damage in HInche so there isn’t anything I can do to help with clean up/repair/rebuild. I blog and others do misc thinks. Dinner is peeled potatoes and an eggplant dish. It is kinda Italian in taste. We wash our dishes and settle in for the night. Take our meds and climb into bed. I have a hard time going to sleep again. I blog for a couple hours while following facebook. I am alerted by someone that my cat was posted in the Lost cats of snohomish county facebook page. He is my old 19 year old cat and someone found him. After some drama, which I will spare you the details as it doesn’t have anything to do with Haiti, we got the cat back. Facebook is awesome as I have people giving me play by play on the Seahawks games. I feel like I am at the game and when we win, I want to yell out but 3 of the girls are sleeping and I don’t want to wake them with my yells. It takes awhile for me to get sleepy from the excitement of the game and the cat situation. Finally at 130am, I turn off my phone and force myself to sleep. I have an early morning at the hospital for my first day.

Tags: cathedral, cemetery, city tour, haiti, hinche

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