Full of Contrasts

This has been a weekend full of contrasts for us… yesterday was more of a rest and recuperation day… naps, reading, visiting, organizing for the trip to the countryside… We must have had some untreated water at some point on Friday evening as both Rayna and Michelle were somewhat under the weather – not with anything infectious, but more a reaction to the difference in mineral and chemical composition. Luckily for us they are both hardy troupers, and we had nothing pressing planned for either yesterday or today.

Lelia, Rick and Paul Jean playing cards

Rick learned a new card game from Lelia and Paul Jean… and after much hilarity (and some assistance in translating when Jasmine wandered out), he even managed to win a few hands.

The smog that sits over the city is unreal, and starting to do a number on our lungs. Even after a torrential rain (such as we had last night) the dust only stays down for a couple of hours. Add exhaust fumes, and the pollution that coats the city and at times it is unbelievable to see… we are all looking forward to going walkabout for awhile this week.

Wanting to have the chance to speak with some of the locals, this morning we braved the road up the hill to l’Eglise du Roche (the Church of the Rock)… this road is terrible on a good day and literally straight up at about a 75 degree angle at times. Add the fact that the rains had washed much of the road away, leaving large cratered holes in the ground along with enormous ruts that the Jeep could barely straddle, and it was somewhat of a nightmare. It was like no roller coaster that has ever been imagined! It was a token to Phillip’s excellent driving and Rick’s navigation that we managed to make it there (after getting completely stuck twice). If we had known what we were getting ourselves into, all of us would have turned around and stayed home! It is unlikely that any of us have ever been so happy to get out of a vehicle in our lives.

On the way back down we stopped at another orphanage that is run by a retired agronomist and learned something about the deforestation that has occurred in the region – leaving the soil in some areas almost unless to grow any crop (whether for humans or animals). It left us contemplating alternatives to ensure that livestock get adequate nutrition.

This afternoon/evening we spent as Dr. Joseph’s guests at the festivities surrounding his niece’s first communion. It was a chance to take in a cultural event, and interact with many people that we wouldn’t ordinarily have crossed paths with in Haiti. We felt quite spoiled and pampered, as we were definitely treated almost as visiting dignitaries. This will be a definite contrast to what we will see and do for the rest of our time here.

We hope that you are all doing well…

Have a wonderful evening.



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