Today was a great day, and a day of firsts: first tap tap ride, first river fording, first bag of water, first popsicle, first swim.. We took the tap tap today, which are bus-like things, with stations and routes that aren’t obvious, though apparently established, but couldn’t get one to Chantal, so instead ended up going to Dices. The truck was packed, both sides with people sitting very snugly and a line in between of people holding on to the waist of the person in front- and one woman had a live chicken that she just held by the ankles for the whole ride. Dices turned out to be a bustling, chaotic market, packed with people, vegetables, cows, goats, trucks. Megan saw big popsicles so the walk was much more enjoyable with a frozen novelty in hand. We walked to Chantal, through the market and then had to cross the river. We got to the bank and realized how nice it was to have the tiny, narrow bridge that we use when we drive to Chantal- at least it’s a bridge. But the walk across was even nicer, refreshing, offering gorgeous views of the mountains upriver. Pastor La Fume met us halfway across and walked us to the school, and it was really fun to see a different town and more of the scenery.
After lunch, Pastor La Fume asked if we wanted to swim (the answer being ‘of course!’) so we walked to the river- the same river but at a different place, with a deep section perfect for swimming, and even a little ridge for jumping off, and the kids and Megan and I had so much fun swimming and playing and jumping, everyone laughing. I felt like I was in a Patagonia catalogue, with the views up the river from where we were swimming in this warm, teal water, the mountains coming out of dark grey storm clouds, the different shades of green.
The La Fumes walked us back to Dices after our English lesson and some soccer, this time through fields, across the river at yet another place, and then down a narrow path, passing people with baskets on their heads or leading cows or goats, coming home from the market. The tap tap ride back was just as fun, the same level of adventure with the arrangement of the people, the condition of the car, the conversation and liveliness.
Overall, today was really fun, full of entirely new experiences (the bag of water is just this thing that the vendors sell on the street- small, hand-sized plastic bags of water, you buy them, bite the corner off, and drink) and a great way to see a lot more of the day to day life in Haiti, along with about 100 more things to add to the list of ‘what’s really different about this place from home’.