Friday, 4 September 2009

My neighborhood and house

Per request of one of my family members, today I am going to write about my house and the neighborhood.

The neighborhood I live in is on the outskirts of town. If you thought of Minneapolis as Pignon (totally not to scale, just for an idea) La Pila, where I live (which is actually still part of Pignon, but is a township, or something. I don't really know) is like Eden Prairie or Hopkins, or some other suburb, but not countryside. Houses line the roads, and there are some cactuses which define the boundaries of each property. The houses are made of cement blocks, then finished with finer cement giving it a smooth appearance. They are also often painted, some pastels, some darker colors, but they tend to be on the bright side. Repairs are far and few between since it costs $$ to get stuff fixed, and if water isn't pouring through the ceiling then it still works. It takes awhile to get used to the shabbier look of the neighborhood, but it's starting to normalize (aka. I'm getting familiar to the feel of things). It looks a lot worse than it feels or what my "standards" for live are used to. There is only electricity in the city, and then it only sometimes runs. When it's not broken or when they have fuel, but that's expensive too.

Roads are used for walking, biking, motorcycles, donkeys, horses, and trucks. There aren't really any cars. Cars would definitely not be able to handle the rugged dirt Haitian roads. In some places, they are fairly impassable, or passable with tons of shocks, 4 wheel drive, and serious skills. Women walk around with stuff on their heads (water, purses, sacks of stuff, huge bowls of laundry, etc.). Men mostly carry things, but I actually have only seen men help women carry stuff now that I think of it. Very curious.

My house is a lot like the other houses in the neighborhood except there are two houses on the compound I live and two little wooden huts. One of the huts is for cooking, and I believe the other is for storing food, but I'm not entirely sure because I haven't been in there yet. The other house is for Gran and Ailix, grandparents. In my house, the kids and Soulange share a bed, and I can hear them from my room. Sometimes there are some funny interactions because Benji can't talk yet.

The houses are surrounded on the left and right by corn stalks, while in the back there is a big shady tree, and sugar cane in the back fields. There are some avocado, mango and orange trees in the back as well.

As for things that my family does...they get water, cook, sit around, Soulange does my laundry (I pay her and she does a fabulous job. I have a white bra that has never been as white since I bought it). Sit around. Gran is kind of old, but she's great. She made me breakfast once (I don't pay for breakfast) and today she gave me an avocado for lunch. I was greatly touched by these gestures. I felt looked after. Yea, and more sitting around, take naps when it gets super hot during the day. Market is on Saturday. Soulange goes into town and sells stuff. Of the two weeks I've been here, they haven't gone to church, but they've talked about it. That's about it for now. If I have more to add, I will later. This wasn't too exciting, but I hope it helped with the visuals. I will post some more photos on facebook.

1 comment:

  1. So interesting to learn of your environment. Thank you for all the good descriptions. I think of you often and always wish you well. Take care and enjoy this adventure.