I'm glad you're here.

Welcome to my blog! I'm so excited to share with you! Thank you for your prayers, your support, and your encouragement. It means a lot to me, the other volunteers at Children of the Promise, and especially the dear little ones I get to work with. :)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

When it rains, it really rains.

Mid April...
"Amy, Ou renmen lapri?" Do you love the rain? Someone asked me this one rainy morning during one of my first few weeks in Haiti. I said an enthusiatic, "Yes!" Although, my enthusiasm might have been more related to the fact that someone had spoken to me in Creole and I'd been able to comprehened. I was asked this same question a few weeks later. It'd been raining for four straight days, and I was soaking wet with a baby in my arms and a blanket over our heads. This time I laughed and shook my head "no." Friends, we've definitely hit the rainy season in Northern Haiti.

Rain can be good and it can be bad. On the positive side of things rain provides water for the crops, gives the cows something to drink, allows people to wash their vehicles (see below), and sometimes provides a place to bathe. On the other hand, it becomes very difficult for people to get to work when roads are uncrossable. Business suffers on rainy days especially for those who sell merchandise on the side of the road. Also, a heavy rain can cause serious damage to homes made from unreliable materials. It's not fun to face a flooded house on a weekly basis. At any rate, rain is important.
I remember the first BIG rain storm I experienced in Haiti. I fell asleep under my mosquito net (this was when I was still using a mosquito net) to the sound of heavy rain on the tin roof above. When I say heavy, I mean the kind of rain that would flatten you if you tried to walk in it. It was fun. The following morning I went outside and to my surprise, there stood a lake. It was large enough to swim a few laps! ;) Well...maybe not quite. But I did stand in it long enough to at least let my feet get soggy. I DO love swimming.
We had a couple more big rains that week. I remember later in the week I went for a walk with a few volunteers and a handful of kids. Every few yards we’d happen upon another giant puddle. Past rainstorms have created huge craters in the roads that fill with water during consecutive rains. Maneuvering around these puddles was a precarious situation with a stroller and toddlers. In fact we probably should have brought along a lifeguard. But thankfully all stayed dry. Later we happened upon, Reekens, an employee of COTP, motoring past us in the COTP tractor. He’d been coming back from town in the white truck only to become very much “stuck in the mud.” Jamie, one of the Site Directors happened to be along on this walk. The two of them successfully dislonged the big white vehicle. Good thing we have a tractor! It really does come in handy. A volunteer named Emily captured the excitement.

A few weeks later I was going into town with Reekens, a different Emily, and Maria. We were going to get groceries for Easter dinner. We traversed some pretty big bodies of water in that little red truck.

And to think, most people have to cross the puddles by walking through them or while on a motorcycle. “Going in to town” involves driving through a few small villages, turning left at the big tree, right at the roundabout, going over the bridge, and past the fried plantain stand and then well… you’re pretty much in town. Cap Haitien.

It’s densely populated place… hard to describe. There’s a lot happening everywhere you look. Sometime, I will have to write a post purely dedicated to Cap.

Transportation in this particular region of Haiti involves motos, tap-taps, mules, or feet. I’ve also seen a few bicycles and a few horses with saddles made from sugar cane. If you need to go any distance the tap-tap is the most widely used option. The tap –taps are old trucks each painted in the same fashion. If you need to go somewhere you better remember which tap-tap drives to that particular spot. You flag down the tap-tap, pay the driver, and join the 20 people already riding in the bed of the truck.

You can also “catch a moto.” To do this you approach a group of men standing with their motorcycles on the street corner. The moto driver will take you wherever you need to go. Frequently drivers will transport three or even four passengers on the back of their motos. Unfortunately accidents are commonplace; both moto vs. tap-tap and moto passenger vs. ground. I have already treated a few victims of such accidents. Just yesterday a young guy walked (or rather limped) 5 miles in order to see if I could bandage a large burn on his leg. Of course I did and I sent him away with some advice and some Advil. They often walk to COTP because taking a Tap-Tap would cost money and treatment at a hospital or clinic would cost even more. Through word of mouth people living in the area have learned that COTP usually has a nurse or two that will perform consultations and sometimes even dispense medicine, all free of charge. This man lived a two minute walk from the hospital. Yet because money is an issue, I’m the better option. I'm just hoping he'll make the five mile hike for me to change his dressing again tomorrow.

The rain makes for a convenient car wash.


  1. Hi Amy,
    This is your family from Placerville, CA
    Steve Jodi and family. We wanted to tell you how excited we are for the opportunity you have there in Haiti. When I pray for all those in the disaster I am so thankful to think you are there helping the needy. We will be praying for you and the group there and look forward to more updates, Love Jodi and family

  2. I hope he came too! I feel like I'm reading a movie, it's so suspenseful.