Take time to stop and hear the Rivyé…
I can call Haiti my home for a small length of 3 weeks time now, yet with all that has filled each minute, hour, day, I could say it’s been a long lifetime of happenings.
For the first time today, I took an hour to myself – an unheard of personal choice of mine these days – and discovered the beauty of the land that surrounds me and extends as far as the eye can see.
Not to discount the obvious fact that our D2C Family Home is conveniently located 1.5 blocks from the blue-green waters of the Caribbean sea and we travel the coastline each time we travel to town, a nearby village, a outing to the beach or a simple walk to the street market to grab some household necessity. However, it took me this long to realize that if you head out in the opposite direction the earth offers her natural beauty in the form of tropical footpaths, backed by lush mountains rippling rivers of clear cool waters.
A typical morning around the house: The sounds of kids’ voices invite me out of bed around 6:30am. The scene is par the usual, Francisco the eldest kid sweeps the floor on the common room (if not him, one of the 4 boys is always helping out), and Dieunald, a staff member that fills in for security, helps with homework and housework, follows him with the mop, making the light tile sparkle behind them. At the dining table sit our 2 middle girls eating, the older 3 boys have just finished, and our 2 youngest girls are on their way out, as cute as can be still with sleepy eyes and bright smiles. Breakfast today; big plate of spaghetti and tomato sauce (ketchup really)! Unusual for the D2C home, commonly eggs with toast, oatmeal or bread with homemade peanut butter, but extremely typical fair for a Haitian breakfast. As I am greeted with the sweetest of “Banjo Madam Amber” by most, I bid “Orevwa” to the 3 boys heading to school, dressed in the finest cleaned, pressed, and I might add handsome, school uniforms. I don’t have to think twice to stay behind and simply wish them a good day at school, reminding them to do their best. Yesterday I walked with them to school, them 10 ft. in front of me the entire 3 block trip and when we neared the school gate Darwin, the brave one, turned around to assure me “Nou bon Madam Amber”, “We’re good”, all 3 hoping not to be seen with me. I didn’t take it personal; they are 10 and 13 years old, typical tween boy behavior. For the next hour I play my part in helping the girls to get cleaned, dressed and ready for and off to school, wash the sink full of dishes for Madam Nicole and check in with Francois and the other staff. Most things on the days “to do” list have to wait until later and since calls I need to make apparently have to wait too, due to a problem with the phone company, I entertain the farfetched idea of taking a solo walk!?!
Partly because of my 8 day sickness with Chikungunya that had me down, as well as, the long list of tasks for the foundation, activities with the D2C family and visiting Seva group that was here for a week, I haven’t had a chance to get my heart rate up in 3 weeks! If you know me, you know me to be a very active person and one who thrives on hiking in the hills, surfing in the ocean, finding some sort of way to play actively almost everyday. I’ve been okay with that not being the tune of this trip, but I am ready for some exercising and connecting with nature, and self. I recall that the street past the kids school looked less trotted, so I put on my sneakers and my headphones, playing the Creole language program I have been studying, and roll out, with no knowing where I am heading. I spot a small footpath branching off of the main road soon after the school, so I follow it. I am immediately filled with bliss, surprised at my quickly winded breath and smiling on the inside as I pass the lone donkey and old man who greets me genuinely and is grinning ear-to-ear that I respond to him, and engage in a short conversation with him, in Creole. The grasses are tall, the trail is small and the bright colors of the plants and trees are so vibrant in this climate it blows my mind. There is noting around but a distant hut here and there. I like feeling little, as I look at all the big rock formations around me, wearing coats of varying greens. The path ends, so I weave myself back to the road I came from and follow it in one big circle that will lead be back to the road parallel to ours, eventually. About 45 minutes into my journey the sight of people becomes more frequent and villagers are alive this morning, sharing their path with me. In this moment I pause and take out my headphones to listen…for the sound I think I hear. As I stand it stillness I am sure it is running water in my ears and as I turn my head to the left I see that sure enough, not far down the side of the road is a fairly large, and incredibly pretty rolling river. Ahhh…I love that sound. As some other that I’ve seen in this country, the water is a light, brilliant blue color, highly rich in mineral. I scurry down to the rivers edge, squat down to dip my hands in and tickle a bit of cool clear water on my face and neck.
I hadn’t realized how much I needed to slow down, stop and take time to hear the river. Content and happy in Haiti I make my way home, open to what other treats and surprises the day has in store.