Sunday, August 7, 2011

It's 10pm in Hinche

It is 10pm in Hinche and I am miserably hot. So hot that I can’t sleep. It’s probably not even 100 but the humidity is heavy and the air is still. The earlier thunder and lightning did not pan out to the rainstorm I had hoped would cool us down. The heat has chased us out of our rooms and onto the veranda to sleep. We, there’s four of us again, pulled out our mattresses and lined them up to be a little cooler. Dina and I use a mosquito tent but the other brave souls go without.
Courtney left a few days ago and is now safely home with her children, visions of the Azeal orphanage still swirling in her head. We have a nurse practitioner that joined our group yesterday, Jane Smith, from Virginia beach. Today, Sunday, was our day of rest. We hung around Maison Fortune, venturing out only to cross the way to see the girls or to cross the soccer field to our Kreyol lesson.

This morning I was enthralled with a young girl named Sofia. She had been assigned the job of making the chicken legs. The children here get meat once a week. Last year it was goat— they would bring in 2 goats every Saturday and that would feed 200 children. This year they have switched to chicken legs. 3 large boxes of frozen chicken legs from the Dominican Republic arrive every Saturday on the back of a motorcycle. On Sunday morning, they boil the chicken, then fry it. This is their Sunday midday meal. Sofia was frying the chicken, sweat beading up on her face. She wasn’t complaining, the heat from the charcoal fire obviously something she was well accustomed to. 


This evening I made my grandmother’s tomato sauce on the Haitian coals. I went over and called Sofia, asking her if she wanted to watch me cook since I had watched her cook this morning. Kennel, our fantastic 19 –year-old Kreyol teacher, helped me get the coals going. We used cans of tomato paste from the one air-conditioned market in town. The 14 oz. cans that we usually see at home with peeled or crushed tomatoes were filled to the brim with tomato paste. I made a large vat of sauce while the curious children looked on, laughing at how much tomato paste I was using. We also made hard boiled eggs and pasta. All of this was a welcomed change from the endless rice, peppered with beans, that has been our daily diet. Often we also have bean sauce, a soup-like liquid made from pinto beans but really much more water than beans. It is usually accompanied by another sauce with bits of beef or goat, onions, potatoes, sometimes a green.
Grandma’s tomato sauce Haiti-style was a complete success. I gave Sofia a small pot with the extra pasta and smothered it in tomato sauce. The children at the orphanage eat plain spaghetti here every morning, so tomorrow I am going to give the girls our extra sauce (of which there is plenty). They eat with their hands so I am not sure how it will go over, but I am sure that any change would be welcomed. I will be happy to see them get some Vitamin A and C, for once. We have wondering about how they are looking and seeming so healthy on a diet of spaghetti and rice and beans. Every day.
Tomorrow we go out on the Mobile Clinic again. We’ll meet the pink jeep in the morning along with the other midwives and students. A structured week lies ahead as we also follow the ebb and flow of visits from our new Haitian friends.

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