11 May 2014

Weekends in Haiti Pt. 2

 Fresh coconuts on the beach

On Friday evening I went to The Petionville Club, which is a 10-minute drive from the house. Every Friday the Club hosts a Book Club meet-and-greet. I was able to meet a wide variety of people there, including a number of American ex-pats, some Haitians and one or two Brits(!) I was having so much fun chatting away to everyone that I forgot to take any photos of the place, but it is absolutely stunning and the owner, Bill, is a jewel.

I soon became acquainted with some of the younger members of the Club, and we organised a day trip out of the city and down to Taino Beach in Grande Goâve for the following morning. Some of the guys brought snorkelling gear and so we went for a swim in the sea, trying to spot some of the sea life through the coral. After much time on the sun loungers and then at the beachside restaurant for a lunch of mussels, crab and mixed salad, we finally headed back to the city.

Later that evening Bill invited some of us out to dinner at Quartier Latin in Petionville, a mixed cuisine restaurant in close proximity to the house. Visitors are almost required to write a message on the walls of the restaurant, an old cathedral-type building, and a live band plays in the garden area. Once again I was having so much fun that I forgot to reach for my iPhone and take photographs (and write on the wall before leaving - gutted!), but that was probably a sign of a great evening.

The next morning, I headed further up the mountains to a place called Thomassin for church. Sunday service in Haiti is a big deal, and it was interesting seeing men and women both young and old and their children walking and driving to their places of worship, all dressed up to the nines with bibles and hymn books in tow. Watching our driver manoeuvre around the wiring roads on the 40-minute drive was fascinating, and I was finally able to get a closer view of some of the mountain-side homes that appear so far away from the main roads down in Port-au-Prince. The air is much cooler in Thomassin which was a relief as it has been incredibly hot in the past few days.

Front of the church at Thomassin with Yachelle

After opening prayers and hymns, I was ushered to stand up in front of the congregation and asked to introduce myself. My confidence in speaking French is growing which I'm pleased about, and I'm picking up some new vocabulary here and there. Creole next!

Some of you will know that I regularly take a Sunday school class back at home, and so I asked if I could observe the children's class and look out for similarities and differences between here and home. It was, by and large, the exact same - except for the fact that the kids were asking questions and reading passages of the Bible and chatting to each other in French and not in English, of course.

After spending some time back at the house following our retreat down the mountain, I visited one of my new friends - a fellow Brit - for Sunday lunch - a friendly reminder of England after a lovely first week in Haiti.

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