Day 6 in Haiti – Kathrine Giacchino

By October 3, 2010Our Efforts: Haiti Project

I’m not feeling very poetic or storyteller like, so you are getting, “Random thoughts from Haiti” by kg:

  • I’m not a big fan of breakfast for dinner.
  • They eat a ton of white bread in Haiti.
  • Generally speaking, Haitians are well dressed, attractive people.  I have no idea how they keep their white shirts so clean and crisp, I can’t manage to stay clean for an hour. 
  • I took my first deep breath today since we landed last week.  When we came back down from the mountain the air seemed thicker and dirtier, there is grit in my teeth just from breathing.  I may be getting used to it, but I hope not.

  • There are a lot of vendors selling a lot of things on the streets, but I have yet to see a single transaction other than our own.
  • 6 Americans will pay $1 for 1 large avocado.  JJ, our Haitian driver steps up and buys 3 and gets change from $1.
  • Collectively we made good choices today.  Many people here in Haiti don’t have the opportunity to choose.
  • I wish the humane society would come here and neuter all of the dogs.  I haven’t seen any cats. 
  • Before I came, I was under the naive impression that stuff couldn’t be purchased in Haiti.  There is plenty of stuff, it’s just that no one can afford it!  Most prices are more expensive than in the states.
  • Don’t order soup, JJ won’t even eat it.
  • JJ, our driver is a giant man by Haitian standards.  He has huge hands and has put his 3 daughters through college.  We are helping him practice his English, he is teaching us Creole.
  • All of the butter here is decadent French butter.  I’m going to start buying that when I get home.
  • There is no shortage of faith based organizations in Haiti.  I don’t think they are all here for noble reasons.
  • I’m amazed by who we have been able to meet with, by simply asking.
  • We have not given away any boots yet.
  • It’s probably not healthy to receive electric shocks from your computer while typing, it’s a regular occurrence here. 
  • Our bartender is a 7 year old girl.
  • Some homes remain standing, still people choose to live on the roofs, in tents instead of in the homes out of fear of another quake. 
  • The roofs are cement slabs, I’m not sure I would choose differently.
  • Many businesses have armed guards. 
  • My colleagues could use a bit more yoga.
  • Soraya can flip anyone, once we discovered that, we all felt safer. Having a backline phone number to the DEA in Haiti is also comforting.
  • The roads are so bad, I’ve only seen 1 traffic signal and there appears to be zero road rules. 
  • I’m not sure if a honk means get out of my way, I’m passing you, it’s ok for you to pass me, or saying hi to a friend.  A lot of honking occurs. 
  • When you order lemonade and get pure lemon juice, no amount of sugar makes it sweet. 
  • The children love to have their picture taken and like to play with our phones and cameras.
  • Even in what seem to me, to be unlivable conditions, babies are still being born. 
  • It took 3 women to ring up my skirt at the store.  One found the tag, the other rung the item and the 3rd put it in the bag. I can’t imagine the labor costs. 
  • Things are not going to change overnight, but I have to believe with all of the people here to help, things will improve.  Someone has to figure out how to consolidate the efforts. 
  • We could not have been as successful without Parfait and his French language skills. 
  • There is no hot water.  I will take a very long hot shower when I get home. The chickens here are super skinny, they make my chickens look like small turkeys.  We have eaten chicken every day. 
  • Pedicures cost more in Haiti than they do on Hawthorne. 
  • Haitian rum only costs $2. 
  • I’m grateful we do not have to get from place to place in a tap-tap.  I wouldn’t want to be squished up in the front nor hanging off the back. 
  • The kids love tP because they think he is Jackie Chan. 
    I don’t feel at all how I anticipated I would feel.  Clearly I’m still processing and am not exactly sure how all of this is going to affect me.  I’m going to catch up with my colleagues who are currently being served $2 rum by our 7 year old bartender.
    Breathe deeply and be well everyone!

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Leer says:

    KG, I really like your “Random Thought”, it’s like you get a guide book summarized in just one page.

    Thanks so much for all these great work you guys doing!