The first was the chance to host an amiga
What I really appreciated about Ellie’s visit was bouncing ideas off of someone who has been in similar situations in rough countries, being the obvious minority assumed to have lots of money. When I first arrived here I aimed to lay low, keep my head down, go about my business. Hide myself away and hope no one noticed me. In talking with Ellie and meeting other blan Americans she knows here, I realize it’s ridiculous to think that everyone and their brother doesn’t already recognize me as the sole blan of the neighborhood, and know where I live, whether I know them or not. So why try and hide when I’d rather embrace being here. In reality, I think I am safer this way, as the Haitians watch out for those they know, those who are a part of their neighborhoods or lives, even if that’s just a smile and bonjou as you go past.
From Ellie’s visit:
Ellie with our feast of roadside food (I realize it does not look like a feast in this picture. We were hungry!) She helped me discover some great vendors right out my front door! My apt, and
Are those flags flying in the background?! No no, just my undies in the backyard.
My neighbor Lovelyn’s Christmas present, babydoll Lovena, sitting on my clean laundry. Even white dolls can have dreadlocks!
Lovelyn (with cornflake dribble on chin), mwen, Lovena (her clothes were reportedly dirty at the time), Ellie
Other cool event: Camping on the beach on the southern coast, over New Year’s/my birthday--really not much explanation needed! It was ideal. Ocean stars ocean stars ocean stars. And cremas! You can already see the stars here in Port au Prince, but looking out over the edge of the mini-cliff that was our campsite and into the night sky is almost addictive, where you can just stand lost in your thoughts for ages, with the sound of waves crashing below. A new year + a change of scenery spurs plenty contemplation. And the cremas. J It’s certainly one of my new
I got to swim everyday. I can’t say I’ve ever been surrounded by as much quiet as when I’d dive under the surface and towards the blue deep. It’s so incredibly peaceful (especially compared to the non-stop rara and music of downtown PAP!) Coming back up to the surface to break through to fresh air and blinding sun—feels like entering another world.
The people make all the difference in any good celebration, and I wasn’t let down. J The crowd at the campsite was mixed Haitian and American, from different places and backgrounds. Like in DC, in
Camping Pics: Pooja and me at the campsite, eaaaaaarly into the long New Years night!
My friend Charles the well-dressed pirate.
… but I don’t think real pirates wear yellow. Just out of range of this pic is a 40 foot rock cliff I jumped off of… :)
The campsite owner, a Haitian dude, is at least as much of a character as my Uncle Chris.
A deep last thought: Spotted on a T-shirt at a roadside market en route to the South: CAMPING: A great excuse to eat beans and not shave.
Now I go into super-rural central
So happy 2008 to all my dear friends and family—I hope you find what you are seeking, or at least learn from the search.~K