This may not look like 5 star accommodations to you, but after a long hot sticky day of working and walking for miles, a cold shower and clean sheets felt amazing!! The mosquito nets were beautiful and made feel feel like a little kid sleeping in a tent, they also protected us from the dreaded Chickungunya that was quite rampant in the area we were visiting. We were told there was no comparison when it came to how painful and crippling this new disease was. They described it as the worse case of the flu and arthritis as it attacked their joints and left even children walking as if they were elderly.
The bathrooms had some rules of its own. If it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down was rule number one. And let me tell you something, by the end of the day I was wishing someone made a Brown, because when yellow mellows all day with about 20 people using it, we’ll let’s just say it isn’t the most appealing aroma.
We also could not put toilet paper in the toilet. Sometimes we would go into the bathroom and there was used toilet paper on the floor next to the toilet, other times we’d try to keep a small plastic bag hung on the door to dispose of our waste. For some reason, the plastic bags would usually not last more than a few hours before they disapeared. That was a mystery to me.
The next Haitian bathroom rule was jump in the shower. Wash your hair, use the shampoo to lather your body, rinse and get out!!! (there is no hot water in Haiti, but if you take a shower at night the water is considerably warmer since the sweltering sun baked the water tank all day. I learned this the hard way as my first shower in Haiti was quite the shock to my already shocked system!)
When I say shocked system, my second day in Haiti I barfed!! I think it was a mixture of traveling the long, very long, extremely long bumpy windy roads three hours into the mountains to Mizak, the mellowing yellow, and the smoldering 2 mile afternoon walk after church. That afternoon while everyone went to the beach, Steve and I stayed behind. I took a nap while he visited his Haitian friends (and he has many!!) and waited for two more team members to arrive.
As I crawled under the mosquito net in nothing but a sports bra and undies, I can’t remember the last time I slept so peacefully.
This was my view every morning as I brushed my teeth outside of the bathroom, because there are no sinks in Haiti!!! Brush, swish and spit! (Over the 2nd story into the kids play area) That’s how ya do it in Mizak. I tried to use the toilet to spit the first day, but the mellowing yellow made me gag!
At night, usually right before devotions, Paul would charge up the generator and we would race to charge our cameras, iPads and cell phones. It was also so we could have adequate light to shower and prepare for the next days adventure.
Most of the people I traveled with had cell service, while Verizon obviously didn’t get the memo I was traveling to another country for a week and desperately missed my babies back home. (Darn Verizon) I must say, a week without a cell phone did this momma some good as I saw from my kids when they ran and jumped into my arms squealing Mommy is Home!!! It did us all some good.
Thanks to Kim (one of the team members) and her ipad, I was able to get in touch with my friend Charlie through Facebook and he relayed to my parents that I was doing well and was still alive. It also gave them an opportunity to get to know each other while I was away.
This was the kitchen that was separate from the house. It was an open building in the back of the house. Primitive? I think yes. but when you look at the neighbors kitchen, you see how State of the Art our kitchen actually was.
We had fried chicken, beans and rice, lasagna, fresh eggs, fried plantains, goat (yep, I had goat!), noodles, spicy homemade peanut butter, bread, fresh bananas, mangos…..oh my goodness, breakfast and dinner was to die for! We always tried to save some food off of our plate so we could invite the little kids that always seemed to sneak around during dinner to eat our leftovers. (although most nights I could have eaten an entire goat!) We brought our own lunch from the states that consisted of Kelloggs energy bars and beef jerky, But when I saw all of these cute little hungry kids, I gave them my snacks and was so happy to see them devour my lunch!
God always supplies though. Steve ended up asking his friend Gabriella to cook lunch for us the last three days we were there. She needed some extra money and Steve needed the food. Steve loves to eat! He also loves to share. (Check out those hungry little babies peeping through the windows watching us eat lunch…it would break anyone’s heart) I promise to take an entire blog spot to write about this man….I fell in love with his soft heart and kind spirit. He deserves an entire blog about him!
You may think I was complaining about our conditions, whether it be the cold shower or the mosquito nets, but they all served a purpose.
Cold showers felt amazing, I was clean and free from mosquito bites, our belly’s were full. Ok, I could have lived without the toilet situation, but while in Haiti. ……..
I can’t wait to get back there as soon as I can. The next trip is already in the process of being planned. I also have a trip to Jamaica planned with some friends of mine from North Carolina in 2015 to go spread some more of God’s love.
Blessed….happy…appreciated…and loved. Those are just a few words I use to describe my time in Haiti.
Until next time my friends….thank God for the little things and don’t forget to flush!