Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Haiti--Contrasts Day 5 (part 1)

What another experience. Today some of us had a chance to go to the market. There were so many things to see. I am always interested in seeing familiar things in a different culture like Coke or Pepsi signs....on one building I saw a crudely drawn Barney and Mickey Mouse...not sure those go together but I totally recognized that was probably a place for kids!

Then there was the pharmacy, the hairdresser, police station, and even a firehouse that looked like it could have been dropped right out of Lexington. Sabrina today had on an EKU t-shirt. That was funny. Had to get a picture. That's Eastern Kentucky University and the shirt even had the Colonel on it.

While at the market we also saw the butcher area....a whole slab of beef hung up, the cow head on the table, raw chicken, all kinds of vegetables and other stuff from the cow....you can use your imagination. The flies were enough to drive us away....not that they were on us...just watching them crawl around on the meat.

But it reminded me a lot of when we went to Korea....the same thing....open air markets with any kind of meat just sold right on the street, but also vegetables and rice and other stuff. And then you could also buy sandals, and dresses, totes, hats, etc.

For a while my group thought they had lost me. I didn't have any trouble finding them, but some people got between me and my group and I sort of blended in....which we all laughed about.

The fact that I am not Haitian has just confused the kids and adults here. Today I went to tell the cook the meal was delicious and she asked one of the staff why she couldn't understand me since I am Haitian. He tried to explain that I am American. So she wanted to know if my mom was white....like maybe I had been adopted from Haiti. Nope!

I'm not sure he was able to explain even after having this debate literally with the kids a couple of days.....they just refuse to believe I am not Haitian! So I am like...."I have to do another trip and bring some more black people with me!"

We also got to hang out with the director's kids and help stock donations in the depot. Oh yeah.....I got to ride in the back of the pickup on the way to the market.

Then here was the contrast. We went out to dinner at a hotel restaurant. Yes....I know...normally when you think of Haiti....you don't think of the Caribbean. But it was stunningly beautiful.....overlooking the coast....it was breathtaking.

And then a little discussion developed about how this could be used to help turn Haiti around. But I think therein lies the problem. You're dealing with corrupt people on both sides. Some Haitians who are only thinking about themselves and not the people, and some American developers on the other side who I could easily see exploiting the beauty of this country for corporate profits with minimal benefit to the people.

But the food was good and we (the folks from down South) had a hilarious time talking to Tim (from Minnesota) about chittlins, liver pudding, pig feet, and the like. We had a great time.

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