Sunday was our day off, which really means it was our time to catch up on all the things we haven’t had time to do, at least in the morning. I spent time capturing video from mini-dv tapes so Bill could edit. While doing that, I imported many photos and blogged. As we seem to only have Internet in the morning, I made use of that now magic state (connection!) to catch up on email and do some research.

While working in the library, Robert was organizing his music behind me, playing five seconds of each song, choosing what to put on his USB stick. I heard a familiar tune and said, “Stop! Wait, I know that.” Turns out the song from our second Haiti video was recorded here in Matènwa. Bill had coincidentally met Chris on his second trip, while in Port-au-Prince, and she had given him that tape. Even better, we were going to Calico that day, where the song was recorded.

Throughout the morning, I kept hearing that word, “Calico”, intermixed within the Creole I was hearing around me. Seemed a lot of people were going with us to the water hole. When it came time to leave, we had a group of about twenty walking with us down the long dirt road to Calico.

Midway through the long walk, Robert took Beth, Bill, and I off the main road to visit a friend who happened to have Coca-Cola for sale. What a welcome treat in the middle of a long hot walk! Coke is much better in Haiti as they use real sugar instead of corn syrup. We caught up with the main group and made our way down the rocky slope to a forested area with a stream running through it. “This is what all of Haiti used to look like,” said Chris.

We followed the stream till we reached a small waterfall with a round pool down below. Our group and another were all standing on the side of the waterhole, looking down. Several boys were jumping from the top of the waterfall, diving into what appeared to be deep water. As their actions had made the water murky, I wasn’t about to dive in without being able to see the bottom. Chris decided we should go to the small flat pools further upstream. At one, the size of a very large bathtub, the children were hesitant to go in, so I rushed forward and said, “Garde!” and launched myself into the muddy water, swimming around. Most in our group laughed and some joined in.

Now that I was wet, I decided I was ready for the big water hole. It had since cleared out of people, though a group of children followed me. Climbing down from the cliff was a dicey affair, though there were ample handholds. I reached the water line with many boys around me, egging me on. I said, “L’eau deep?”, making a hand gesture to show deep water. They all said, “Wi wi”, so I jumped in.

OW! Not so deep in that spot. My right leg really whacked a rock, but not bad enough to get out, so I continued to the deep part in the middle for a little swim. Then came the next surprise. A boy on a rock about five feet above me said, “Mister, can you help me!” I said, “Wi”, not knowing yet what he wanted. He jumped into the air, directly at me, and landed on top of me, grabbing onto my shoulders and head. Clearly he couldn’t swim but wanted to join his friends who had life jackets. Did I mention he was almost as tall as I was? Though shocked, I managed to keep us afloat and bring him to his friends.

Back at the small pools upstream, we waited while many people bathed, the Haitian women with no tops as comfortably as the men. Robert told me that Haitian women think nothing of taking off their tops and as a result, Haitian men think nothing of their tops being off, unlike Victoria Secret-obsessed America.

We started the long hike home, and again Robert (with Benaja) took me on another route. We stopped to say hello to what seemed like every person on the island of Lagonav, all of whom knew Robert well. What a wonderful and open community, something completely lacking back where I live. Everyone takes time to talk with each other; everyone gives each other food as a greeting; everyone is sincerely happy to see each other. We also saw a kid’s soccer game along the way, with many people watching and cheering.

Finally rejoining our group after dark, we sat in a circle by the fire and helped make peanut butter, shelling the peanuts and stirring them in a pot. Children told stories while Etienne translated. Returning home, I tended to my leg wound, which had stopped bleeding, and fell asleep.

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