Sunday, November 27, 2011

A typical day

We have received some requests to share what a typical day is like for us.  Of course, it is rare that we have a 'typical' day.  There is almost always something unexpected: one of us is sick, a guest arrives, we are asked to join Kesnel on errands or visits. But, I’ll give it a shot:

The sun rises a little after 5, sometimes we wake with it, others we are able to sleep until 6, when the bustle of life is too loud to ignore.   If there is power, we will use our little microwave to make a cup of tea or a bowl of oatmeal.  If not, we will have some water and maybe crackers.  We take turns looking at the walls to give each other enough privacy to change into clothes for the day.   We walk across the courtyard, where by now school children and teachers are beginning to gather, to use the washroom.  

Usually, by 8 we are offered a breakfast.  It may be spaghetti, rice, or bread with peanut butter.  Sometimes there is hot chocolate.  After breakfast, I begin teaching our children, taking a late morning recess along with the school children.   We continue our lessons into the early afternoon.  A very kind friend lent us 2 series of educational audio books, so in the hottest part of the afternoon, the kids lay on their bunks with headphones and listen to these stories.  Much of Haiti takes a nap.

It is also in the hot part of the day when we shower, finding the cold water (almost) refreshing.  Later, when the sun has dropped behind the mountains, the kids will go out and play. 

Meanwhile, Chris is working with Pastor Kesnel, attending meetings and seminars, visiting other pastors and churches, or working on the sermons he is asked to preach.  In the afternoons, there are English classes, church services, and bible studies. 

Dinner , almost always beans and rice, canned chicken and red sauce with onions, is usually offered around 4.  Sometimes there is ground corn in place of the rice- we like the change of it.  Several times a week there are vegetables- carrots, green beans, or potatoes.  We dread the days that whole, fried fish replaces the canned chicken.  We have driven through the fish market.  It is nauseating. 

There are 2 types of markets here: the outdoor market is where you can buy local and dried goods- seasonal fruits and vegetables, (right now it's oranges, grapefruits, carrots and green beans), sugar, coffee, beans, and rice- and meat (live chickens, turkeys, goats..and terrible fish).

Then there is a grocery store, which we visit about once a week.  It is a small store by American standards; huge by Haitian.  We buy things like canned fruit and juice, peanut butter, oatmeal, raisins, and snacks to replace our missing lunch.  The prices are 2 - 3 times those in America.  We are limited to packaged goods as we do not have a refridgerator.

Saturdays, we do laundry in the morning to the soundtrack of the 6 hour prayer service happening in the church.  In the afternoon, we read, play a game, or  maybe even watch a show downloaded from itunes.  Sunday is occupied with church services. 

The sun begins to set around 5, and by 6 it is dark. Sometimes, we have a bit of battery power to keep lights on in the evening. If there is a church service, the generator may run, and then we will have fans as well. There is almost always a few hours of dark silence between the last of the battery power and the begining of state provided power.

By 7pm we are tired.  By 8, the children are asleep.  By 9, Chris and I are too.