Tuesday, March 2, 2010

River and Cemetery Clean ups

Now that I have been back in site for a couple weeks, things are about the same as before. The Religious curing lady is back again. This time she told a neighbor that her husband who died 2 years ago was trapped in an animal’s body in Haiti and that they needed to move his body from the tomb in the cemetery before the Haitians on the other side of the island could sacrifice him. As if her previous antics were not creepy enough, now there will be digging 2-year-old corpses out of graveyards in the middle of the night (she wanted to do it at 2 AM but the Cemetery’s security insisted that they did it during business hours). Anyway, I don’t know if they actually went through with it, and I think her buzz is starting to fade. Maybe people are finally starting to get it, when the whole situation was explained to me a woman stressed how Haitians are a bunch of crazy fanatics with their religious beliefs. The Haitians were going to sacrifice the animal, which is weird, and moving corpses is pretty normal. She also said that we couldn’t let Haitians come over to this side of the island to receive help after the earthquake. After all, she tells me, the bible does say that we are in “the end of days” and to have them here would only put us in more danger. I don’t know where it says that, I told her, but it did say something about loving your neighbor. She told me that I had heard that passage out of context.

Besides the religious banter, there has been a few exciting developments with my project. I finished my finest world map mural yet at the elementary school by my house, it is way bigger than the last one and I am hoping to be able to label all of the countries tonight or tomorrow. I finally received the grant money that I applied for in late October so I can build some latrines for the barrio. I am hoping the latrines will cut down on the number of people using the river behind my house as a very slow flushing toilet. We are also hoping to put a few on Malia’s side of the mountain in some of the rural areas. Also, on the subject of the river behind my house, a big rainstorm came about a week ago and cleared the whole thing out. The air was so fresh I smelled the flowers on the tree behind my house, and then I caught a cold so now I don’t smell anything. A few days after the rainstorm the local government sent in a group of paid staff and volunteers to clean the river. I was suckered into it as well. It was probably one of the more disgusting moments of my life (other than the first time I went to a river clean up in my barrio). Despite the rain doing a pretty good job of removing the bulk, there were still quite a few piles of dirty diapers. The new JICA volunteer impressed me big time, I was using a stick with a nail on it to pick up the soggy diapers one by one and she came up and picked up five at once. With her hands! She had gloves on and so did I, but still. She doesn’t know Karate like Eiji but she gets a black belt in dealing with a bunch of crap (in both diaper form and the local government trying to use us for political gain in the form a river clean ups).


Heather W. said...

Seriously, when you get home, you need to publish!

Whew! I guess reality is all relative!

Katie Reed said...

Maybe we should send some home depot mule gloves for you both. That way you'll have double protection from the yucky stuff!!

Thank heavens (literally) that someone is finally seeing beyond the "healing" lady. You continue to love thy neighbor in or out of context!!!

Love Mom.