I am feeling I have not seen the real Haiti yet – so on Wednesday it was a holiday and the clinic was closed. Yvette and I decided that we would go visit Sherline, one of the midwives from another clinic. She lives in a village called Lavanneau which is not far from the “Bassin Bleu”. So off we went by moto (that is the name for the motorcycle/scooter) up to the river. The river is low at this time of year – everything happens at the river – washing clothes, bathing, swimming, dumping of trash, watering animals and everything else.
To cross the river you need to go by moto or walk across which is tricky due to the slippery rocks. Sherline’s brother came to pick us up – so we are 3 on the moto – we meet Sherline and she hops on as well – no problem – it is all good. On the way there we see many people walking towards Jacmel.
We go up towards her village – it was a fun ride through water and mud but we made it. Just by her village is another river. Again it is full of people. Sherline says excuse me I need to take a shower you can wait here – little did we know that she met she was going to bath in the river. It is always so surprising that people here think nothing of taking their clothes off and jump into the water to bath. It is different that is for sure.
After Sherline takes a bath we walk up to her house. The house is great and it is even greater as Sherline who is not only a midwife but a mason as well built it. After the earthquake a large part of the house came down so she built onto the part that was still standing. In her house are her parents, 2 brothers, sister and nephew. It is not a big house but it is super clean – there is no kitchen as they cook outside for now.
Sherline by the kitchen – 8267
After we visit her home we are invited to visit her father’s garden – this garden would be coconut and banana trees. We walked a very long time along the beach in order to get to the garden. During the last hurricane all this debris got blow in onto the beach – it actually looked like a flip-flop store must have lost all its stock. Flip-flops of all sizes and colours – really strange. However the beauty of the water – blue, blue – was beautiful.
Once we reached the garden, Sherline’s brother climbed up a coconut tree to cut down some coconuts. It was a great time as other’s came over and we had a little coconut drinking and eating time. Sitting amongst the coconut and banana trees was a nice way to end that long walk knowing that we would have to walk back !!!
So after are walk back to the house the real adventure began. We were going up to Bassin Bleu which is a gorge that has three separate cold water ponds. The water is a really wonderful blue colour. To get up there because the road is so bad they recommend a 4 wheel drive. But why use a 4 wheel drive when you can have 3 people on a moto to go up there. It was a bit nail biting at times especially going down hill on gravel amongst the pot holes. Up and down hills – going through water it would make any experienced driver nervous.
Once we got to Bassin Bleu we had to walk or like I prefer to call it trek in. It wasn’t bad until we had to cross a gorge by crossing the shell of a coconut tree. I have a fear of heights – I really saw myself falling over. I basically ran across it which was not the smartness as you had to put one foot in front of the other – but I made it twice.
I only made it to the second basin – the three basin you had to climb down a rope to get to – it wasn’t bad but by that time I was like done from the heat.
Bassin Bleu – 8344
We trekked out and went back on the moto for the trip back. I think I was scared on the way down as I knew what the ride would be like – but we made it. We went back across the river which was a little shaky as the rocks where very slippery and the moto just about toppled over – but we got to the other side – yes safe on flat land.
Yvette and I decided to walk around Jacmel as she knows a number of people here and wanted to visit friends. It was interesting to see the damage from the earthquake which is pretty visible all around town.
One of the things that is very clear in walking around – everything happens on the street. When you live in a house, that is basically as large as my living room or smaller, with 6 people and up you need a place to go – so the street becomes like almost this big living room with all of your friends. The poverty is hard to describe – it is right in front of you everywhere. It makes you stop and think – what have I got to complain about – it is like having tennis elbow when someone else is hemorrhaging – that is what it felt like to me and it is the only way I can describe it. It was an adventure a day filled with many highs and lows, I also met some very interesting people which even made this day more special.
My time in Haiti is quickly coming to an end – one more blog enter and that will be it