It’s hard to believe it’s already the beginning of my fourth full day in Haiti. Mostly I’ve been settling in and setting up materials for school on Monday. I am so excited to start school, but I think the kids are even more excited. They’ve been asking if we’re starting school tomorrow since we arrived Tuesday.
Travel Tuesday went fairly smoothly. All of our bags made it to Port-Au-Prince in one piece! I was very grateful for that. When we got to the compound in Borel Tuesday evening, people were waiting to greet us and help unload bags. Some of the ladies here had made up our beds and left a fresh towel and washcloth there. We also had a cook here to make the first four meals in country for us in the cafeteria. It was really nice not to have to worry about that stuff right away. I’m very appreciative for the hospitality. I also love my apartment. It has a living room/kitchen area, a fairly large bedroom, and a small bathroom. There are also paintings on the wall.
I’m pretty sure local artisans did them. They add decorative flair and character. It’s a nice space to call home for the next nine months.
I’ve made lots of new friends. I’m getting to know the other missionaries here and the Haitian staff. I am able to understand and speak more Creole than I thought I would be able to at first. It’s definitely a blessing. Studying over the summer paid off. I still have more learning to do, but people here keep saying that in two weeks, I’ll be speaking in Creole with ease.
I also met the muffin man yesterday. There is a bakery down the road that is like a distributor for these muffins. Women come buy in bulk then go out to the markets to sell them. The muffins are dense and have a licorice flavor to them. And now I know the muffin man.
I also have a lot of new animal friends. There are quite a few chickens and roosters around the compound. Because they roam free, they seem like the equivalent of squirrels in the states to me. Much louder squirrels, but similar. There are a couple of dogs, Dixie and Lilo. Dixie reminds me of my dogs back home because she is constantly begging for food and attention. There are also goats, bugs of all varieties, and lizards (which eat the bugs, so I’m cool with them).
And then there’s the rat.
Two nights ago, there was a rat sighting at the other end of the house. One of the other missionaries and I were looking for something in a storage area. She turned the light, then the water, then there was a thud. This rat seemed to fall from the curtains in the window onto the counter scurried around then ran outside. We screamed. Her husband walked in and simply asked, “Tarantula or rat?” I thought it ran outside, so I didn’t think much of it. Then last night, I was in my living room and saw it run out of my room into the living room then into the other part of the house. I know it was in my bathroom too because it knocked down a painting in there. So, the other missionaries hooked me up with a rat trap and set it up last night. As of now, nothing has been caught yet.
New adventures have included going to the small market near the compound, watching some of a soccer game, and experimenting with a camp shower heater. Some of the other missionaries who are here part of the year left a shower heater set up in my bathroom so I could have hot water. I didn’t know how it worked though, so another missionary came over and helped. It needs to be lit every time you use it. So, you turn on the propane, light it with a lighter, then you adjust the knobs.
Only the amount of propane that comes out is apparently intense because there was a small explosion/fire ball when it was lit. It dissipated quickly, but right now I’m choosing cold water over fireballs every time I shower.
Other than the rat friend, it’s been a really great first few days here. I think it’s going to be a wonderful year. I am looking forward to getting to know everyone here better and seeing what God does.