14th May 2016
I’m in Haiti now 2 weeks and spent the last five days in Gros Morne, about 3 hours drive away. I had an eventful week, getting lifts to school and back on the back of a quad, along with two others. Matt, one of the volunteers currently living in Gros Morne with the Sisters of Jesus and Mary, Jackie and Pat, drove the quad while one of the teachers from the school and Geri another US volunteer and I got a lift on the back. It was my first time to ride on a quad and as the road surfaces are so bumpy I was hanging on for dear life! But the second day, I wasn’t quite so scared but held on tight just the same.
Matt said I’d probably find riding a motorbike taxi was actually easier but I’m not totally convinced.
I spent a couple of days in 1st Class, in an effort to learn some Creole which helped my vocabulary but not my grammar, that will take a little longer. I also had the chance to sit in on an introductory class to computer studies given to the young adults in Gros Morne, in the computer room attached to the school.
The computer lab was funded and set up with help from UCD volunteers a couple of years ago and is a fantastic asset to the school and now also will be for the local community as classes open up to others. They have 20 computer stations, complete with headphones.
It’s all worked by electricity harnessed from the sun and using solar panels, which is wonderful for this part of the world, which is blessed with sunshine all day long. Otherwise, the people would certainly not have access to computers on such a scale as electricity is not a standard facility in most homes.
Today I went to the market in Jean Rabel having returned here last night. At 9.00 am the sun was beaming down and the market was in full swing with everything from mangos to toothpaste to tablets and toiletries available to buy.
It seemed like the whole province had arrived in the town with their wares for sale. Donkeys took pride of place as means of transportation alongside motorbikes and best of all was the use of the wheelbarrow, which comes into its own on market day making for the best supermarket trolley I have ever seen.
From grandmothers to toddlers whole families had their stalls adorned with their wares, while they tried to get some shelter from the hot sun. Young women walked about carrying their produce, calling out to attract attention, hoping for a sale.
It was one of the most colourful sights I have seen and also the most purposeful activity I have experienced in Haiti yet.
Next time I’ll definitely bring my camera as it’s surely a sight to behold!