I think moving to a new country is an adventure in itself, but I thought tonight I would share with you a couple of the adventures we have experienced lately.
Earlier this week Dan went to Cap Haitian with Nick, Jadyn, and Gabe. They had a fun afternoon of picking out bikes and bargaining in the outdoor market. They even stopped for lunch and were able to enjoy pizza together! The children have enjoyed riding their bikes around on campus, but today I decided to take them for a ride down the road.
It had rained A LOT last night so I knew there would be puddles, but I didn't think about how many animals couldn't be out to pasture. As we rode we had to dodge puddles (I was probably the only one of us even attempting to dodge these), people, motos, and many, many goats. We often see goats as we drive or walk along the road, but usually most of them are in the grass along side the road. Today the road was full of them. I don't think Isaiah has ever ridden his bike somewhere other than a drive way, so I tried to talk him through this obstacle course but sometimes there was no talking, just avoiding goats!
We also came upon a few cows on their way home for the evening. As they walk home, their owners often leave the rope they use to tie them to something during the day dragging behind them on the road. Do you know how tempting it is for a 5 year old boy to ride over that rope? I could see the wheels turning in his brain. He got close a few times, but eventually we passed the cows, also.
We came upon a part in the road that was completely flooded. Someone had placed a piece of plywood as a bridge for the motos to pass, but I decided I wasn't up for that much of an adventure, and we turned around.
I know we were quite the spectacle as we rode....and several people tried to talk with us. Jadyn and I answered when we could, but we are still quite limited in our Creole. It was a fun afternoon activity, and I am sure many more bike rides are in our future.
At the risk of making this post too long, I will share another adventure we experienced last week.
Last Saturday Rob and Erin, staff here at COTP and great new friends, offered to take us to the Dominican Republic for a day trip to eat out and get groceries at a market they often use to stock up on some things they can't get in Cap Haitian. They have four children, Lizz was still with us at the time, and the seven of us. We rode in a little truck with seven in the cab and seven in the back. The DR is a little over an hour for us so we enjoyed each others company and took in the scenery on the way.
We parked the truck on the Haiti side of the border, walked a bridge over, and Rob asked the guard what time they were closing the gate that day. The guard told him 5pm. (Insert funniest thing I saw that day: A man carrying at least 25 live chickens on a rope. Two fell which meant he had to set the others down to pick the two up and it turned into utter chicken chaos. I felt sorry for the guy, but it was quite hilarious. I have been trying to be careful about what I photograph so as not to offend, and sometimes my camera just isn't available, but I wish I had a picture of that!) Anyway, 5 pm worked for our schedule so we walked to the restaurant from there. We enjoyed a great meal despite continuing to speak English or Creole when we were supposed to be speaking Spanish. Get too many languages in the mix and nothing makes sense! After lunch we were even able to take the kids to a little ice cream shop down the street. Asking flavors in Spanish was also interesting. (Side note of something that wouldn't happen in the States. The girl that was helping us gave us a sample of a flavor, and then continued using that same spoon to let others sample different flavors. No room for germaphobes here!)
Next we did our shopping. It was fun to see the different things that we could buy, and one thing we really stocked up on was yogurt. We don't eat much dairy here, so yogurt is a treat and we bought it by the gallon. Price comparison is even more difficult when you have to convert at times in Haiti and at times in the Dominican.
The fun part of the adventure is yet to come! We packed all of our groceries into a cart pulled behind a moto and Rob, Dan, and the kids all piled on.
When we got to the border, we discovered that they had closed early that day because of Easter. We had some choices. We could get a hotel and have a bunch of our food spoil and not make it back to COTP, or we could walk the river. So....nine children, five adults, and about $400 worth of groceries are going to have to get across the river. We gave the older kids a few bags, we all grabbed a few bags and the younger children, hired a few Haitians to help, and we were off. We walked through a little rock bed where many people lay their clothes out to dry after washing them in the river. Then we walked through an area with a lot of garbage on the ground. Next came the water. It was probably about knee deep for me, so the little ones were carried and the others just waded through. At the other side there was quite a steep bank we had to climb and it was not easy with groceries, children, and really wet shoes. Thankfully there were kind people along the way to help us up.
We finally made it to the truck, paid our Haitian help, and headed out. However, in order to get them to open the gate for our truck to leave, we had to pay the guard there. He was looking to make some extra money and Rob ended up having to pay him triple what he had paid last time. It was cheaper than a hotel stay, though.
We were relieved to be back on our way once we were out the gate. We were able to return to COTP without any more difficulty, and were glad to make it home that evening. And we had yogurt for dinner that night!