]So if you picture this – taxis here are a cross between a scooter and motorcycle. I went to the market and had a very large heavy bag of produce over my left shoulder and I was holding a squash type vegetable as well. I get on the taxi and quickly realize that I tip to the left – it was too late to stop so I had to bend my right leg – move it up and hang onto my knee with my right hand. So I am kind of teetering on this motorcycle thing – not hanging onto anything but at least I am not falling off. We are going down the somewhat paved road that has huge potholes and traffic that uses both sides of the road. When we finally arrived one of the first thought was no helmets are required here why is that? We seem to worry a lot about safety in Canada – is that a good thing?
Here it is really different as far as safety goes, as we know it, it really doesn’t happen. For example one our power poles got hit by a truck – the guy in the truck gets out and moves the power lines himself. When the power is fixed a few days later not everyone has power. One of the neighbours has had enough and gets a ladder and connects it himself. No big deal.
In going to the market which is person to person selling things in the heat with a little kind of cover over some of the venders it really made me think of where the food comes from that I eat here. The market itself was not the worse market I have been to and the reason as there was very little meat, poultry and fish vendors which certainly speaks to the poverty in Haiti. Without these types of vendors the smell factor is down and you can only smell the rotting garbage – not bad really as opposed to meat products in the sun. You see dogs running through the market and other animals. You see people giving flour, sugar and other grains/beans from little bowls sitting on the ground with dust flying everywhere. But it is all OK as people buy these things and go home and cook with it. So far I have not been sick so I am surviving despite where my food comes from. At home I would run away screaming if this is how our farmers market looked like.
Very few people here have fridges. Even if you do power it is down for 10 to 11 hours a day. On a day like this we have not had power since 3 a.m.(it took 15 hours) for some reason or other so a fridge really has little use. Food sits on the counter or cooking plate for hours with no concern. The other day someone made a pasta type salad with mayonnaise and it stayed out on the table for 6 hours – and it is very hot here. No worries people keep eating it with no concern. I wouldn’t want to try that at home as no one would touch it for fear of getting sick. When I said I didn’t get sick well I did after writing this blog – I had a tablespoon of pasta salad as one of the girls had made it – that was a very big mistake. I am now feeling much better and back to eating rice only which right now is the best bet for me.
However before that happened I was able to have Bar-que which is considered fast food – not really fast according to my standards – 30 mins not bad for here.
Best Place for Bar-que in Jacmel
There are no seat belts, baby car sits, motorcycle helmets, traffic lights nor real traffic rules but yet people keep moving and considering the amount of traffic I have not seen one accident or an anger person. The only thing I did see was a person texting while driving a motorcycle – well there are stupid people everywhere I guess.
People in little tiny hovels – in some cases many families all live together. However in saying that most of the places are spotless and so are they. Their clothes are always cleaned and starched. I have seen few people who are not – even people from the camps have pressed clothing. Most of the clothes come from the US or Canada Goodwill and places like that – a little out of style but very nice. People take a great deal of pride in how they look.
One of the things that people take very seriously here is personal safety. This is especially true of foreigners and people who can afford it. Crime is extremely high and I have heard many stories of what has happened to people – it is all about the money. So security is important – it is dark 12 hours of the day here and no power for 4 of those hours,
But any type of security is really very basic here. Bars are put across the inside of the door every night for added security. But even with all of that people can figure it out. My room overlooks the clinic and there is a tiny alcove outside – well some sleeps in that alcove – not every night but a lot of nights. First it freaked me out – but now I am alright with it as they are just looking for a safe place to sleep. I think it is Ziggy a 12 year old boy who lives with his father. His father beats him badly when he has been drinking so I think Ziggy just needs a safe place and that is alright. I will keep thinking it is Ziggy that is there so I can sleep at night.
The house next door has about 3 or 4 dogs – that is the beer house so there is always a lot of things going on there – however if any one messes with her the dogs are trained to attack.
Being a foreigner does make you a target – not so much when you are walking around in an area with lots of people – it is an issue when you are alone. We went to the isolated beach where they have the Church by the Ocean – Yvette, the 6 year old, the baby and me. Yvette and the 6 year old went for a walk – I was sitting in the shade with the baby when two guys approached asking for American money – when I said I had none – they stood apart so I could not watch both of them – and they started jabbering so I could not understand. I was so worried about the baby and trying to think where could I run. This went on for about 10 mins when I saw Yvette coming back – I called to her and wave. Finally after telling them over and over I did not have money – but I could take their picture which will be sent to Hollywood – universal language – they understood that and where very happy.
I do not feel comfortable here and it in large due to the fact that I have not been able to explore the area in daylight hours. People who have been here before or for a long time seem to be able to go out at night with caution but have learnt not to live in fear. I have heard that a lot – you cannot live in fear.
I don’t know about that – I am a little fearful and I don’t think that will change before I leave.
I just want to end with an interesting fact – you cannot bring guns into Haiti however you can bring ammunition – people do it all the time so they can give it to the local police. Most police officers here have only 2 bullets. Not such a good thing.
Until next time.