Sunday, June 9, 2013
Hope you are enjoying the nice spring weather. It is 82 degrees here, but feels like 95 degrees, because it is the rainy season. My daughter says it is similar to the humidity in Malaysia.
We have a young boy named Jim who appears to have the mumps. It only took one look and I was sure. I did double check in a medical manual and on the computer. Our doctor will be in tomorrow and will also check. But the area that swells up with mumps is pretty obvious. His face is swollen on both sides. PLEASE pray for him and for the other children, as mumps are contagious. I do not look forward to 67 children sick with mumps. Another good reason to purchase a refrigerator for our medical clinic is most immunizations require refrigeration.
We have been holding a sewing class in Pass Rien. The community has no power so they are learning to sew on a treadle machine. The class is almost ready to graduate and we would like to help them purchase some machines to share. This will be a viable income for families. So if you would be interested in helping, let us know. The machines are approximately $130 each and can be purchased in Port-au-Prince. YOU could change the lives of families in Pass Rien.
And now for my adventure. I have been working on learning Haitian Creole. I have about 250 words down, which considering I am not as young as I once was is not too bad. I told Nathan a couple of weeks ago that I now sound like a two year old when I talk. 250 words may sound like a lot, but it is amazing how many times I try to say a sentence and I only know 1/2 the words I need. So the other day I needed to go in to town to buy some things. Luksan, a great Haitian man who welds for us and also drives sometimes was told he got the honor of shopping with me :) I do not think Haiti is any different than America or Canada, most men do not really want to run errands all day with a women. In Haiti this task is made even more difficult, as there are no one stop shopping centers. In fact you can not even get screws in the same booth as an outlet cover, or a snap in the same booth as a piece of fabric. So I have my list and my Creole/English dictionary with me and off we go. First item get money, never an easy task in Haiti. Just standing in line at the bank can take an hour or two. Then I have to exchange my US dollars for Haitian dollars. There are money changers on the streets in the market area. You find one and figure out the exchange of US dollars to Haitian dollars. Next problem the Haitian dollar only exists in speech, because every country has to be able to compare dollars to dollars on the world market. So after you find out how many Haitian dollars you are going to get, you have to convert them to the currency they actually use, which is gouds. So know I have usable money. First item on my list is an aluminum ladder, probably not what most women have on their shopping list. I could actually translate aluminum, ladder was the problem, and then I wanted a step ladder and I wanted it 8 ft. tall. The 8 wasn't the problem the feet were. So we found the ladders and I found which one. Next on my list a beige outlet cover, apparently a metal outlet box was called by the same name so even though I could show them a plastic cover they insisted I wanted the metal box, because that is what I asked for, 15 mins. later they decided I could have the plastic cover. Next problem I needed a long screw with the flat end to install it. Even though I knew the word for screw was vis, Catlin's last name:) and I knew the word for long was long, it still took another 15 mins. at least to find out they did not have screws. A gentlemen standing by us took us aside afterwards and said he had a long vis at his house. So we drove to his house and he did indeed have not 1 but 3 long vis for me. Mission accomplished. The rest of the list was a matter of wandering through market stall after market stall. Luksan was extremely patient with me to say the least. Why did it matter that the silicone glue I wanted came in a tube, but I wanted it in a cylinder to fit in a caulking gun? And why did I want to put it in a gun? I drew pictures, used hand motions, like charades and finally found a cylinder of grease that went in a caulking gun with tire products. Now that he understood what I wanted we had to find it. It was kind of like the book Where's Waldo. There were a few items we could not find and it had nothing to do with communication, they just did not exist in Gonaives, which is Haiti's third largest city. But one of the funniest items, was dirt or soil. I said the word for both soil and dirt and I picked up some with my hand. I also said I wanted it to plant seeds in. Buying dirt was the one of the craziest things I wanted to do. But the dirt or soil in Marose is really sand, gravel and rocks. We even had a friend of ours who works for Washington State Agriculture come to take soil samples for analyzing and he looked at the ground the first time he went to Haiti with us and said "what dirt". When I finally explained that I wanted to plant flowers in it, he thought about my request for about 10 minuets and then said "no soil". All of this took about 5 hours. I could have accomplished it in about an hour including driving in Washington. Oh well, that is life in Haiti.
Thank you so much for your continued prayers as we continue to adjust, learn and figure out what is really important and what is not.