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Friday, August 26, 2016

Concerning Plans

Haiti Fact #4:
Most Haitians speak Haitian Creole. However, the government and many businesses use French.

The Lord of the Rings inspires me.  Sometimes I even think of little passages that describe my situation.  One of my favorite passages is the following, pulled from Chapter 3 of The Fellowship of the Ring.  “‘It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,’ [Bilbo] used to say. ‘You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.’”  This can be interpreted abstractly, as acknowledging the limited control we have over the external events that affect us.  It could even highlight the bravery required to leave a comfort zone and accept some risks.  But in Haiti as a foreigner it is a reality. 

Leaving the house always carries some risk here; not to life and limb, but simply the ever present risk that the plan you make will not go smoothly.  Simply walking somewhere can result in comments and stares from the city’s residents.  Driving brings a whole host of challenges, and entering the marché (street market) is guaranteed to make me the center of attention and subject of constant sales pitches for things that I do not want.  And the list goes on like that.  As Tolkien abstractly observes, leaving the house and entering the public world of Cap-Haitien can actually lead to unexpected places.

At the moment, I am beginning the biggest change of my life.  While it is a reality that even going out the door can lead to a mix of surprises and new experiences, each challenge does bring excitement in its own way.  I applied for this job seeking something different and that’s exactly what I got.  We have the basic day to day skills down now and have begun to venture out of our established comfort zones.  Despite the unpredictability and frequently failing plans, we are getting by and starting to love the experience. 

So as the USA gears up to go back to school, I just want everybody to know that my life here is going great and improving every day.  To everyone who has and continues to support me, thank you so much.  And to those going back to school, whether as a student or teacher, have a great year!

A special thank you to these donors:

The Nicoll family
Stephanie Patterson

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