I love any excuse to go to someone’s home here in Haiti. Since they live so differently than we do, I find it to be such a cool experience. It can be strange and awkward,but hey, when awkward situations are the norm in our life, we have learned to embrace them (and even look for them!)
There is a girl who works for nwhcm here in St. Louis, and I just love her. She needed to go and visit her family, to take them money. She is the only one in her family who works, and thus there is an expectation that she helps out the family, the whole family. She gives them money for food, and pays for her two sisters to go to school. I asked her if she sets aside any of her paychecks for herself, and she said she did have some in the bank,but her mom got sick and now she has only just a little. Mind you, she isn’t telling me this looking for sympathy, it’s very matter of fact. Just as stunned as I was to find she uses most of her income for her family, she would pry be surprised to learn it tends to be the opposite in the States. Anyway, since she has not been feeling that great the past few days, I offered to go with her. I could tell she was pretty excited I wanted to visit her family and hang out with her. We walked to the main street to catch a motto, and she asked if I wanted to ride with her or on my own. I opted for with her. She then proceeded to stick me in the middle, which at first annoyed me cause that meant I had to sit closer to the driver, until I realized she did it to make sure I was safe, and didn’t fall off the back! We arrived at her families house, and were greeted by mom, and the eight other family members who lived there. It was a very put together house, and I was shown to what I would say was the ‘living room’. It had one bed in it with a circle of plastic chairs. They had a nice dining room with a hutch and dining room table. And of course, the fake flowers hanging form the ceiling right over the middle of the table. The floor was dirt with small rocks. Everything was very organized and swept clean. The whole family came to meet me, and it was so fun to meet everyone. The best part was that of course we got on the topic of Cholera, and so I used the opportunity to tell them the truth about it, and what they can do to prevent/treat it. Turns out, almost everyone in the family has had watery diarrhea in the last few days. I think they had a mild form of Cholera, cause we are learning that some cases are mild, some moderate, and some severe. Just like having the flu really, sometimes it gets ya real bad, and other times it’s just a few symptoms. I told them all this, and was glad to learn most of them weren’t sick anymore. It was a pleasant trip all together, and I made her ride the middle on the way back-telling her in my broken creole that I’d rather take my chances of falling off the back than have to sit that close to the driver- she got a good laugh out of that!