Up at the crack of dawn with the local rooster, who yelps non-stop from God knows what time in the middle of the night.
We have solar power, so no lights at night, but everybody else is the same, and when it’s dark, it really is dark – I use my torch for the loo if I need to in the night. The first night I turned it on, a flaming cockroach scurried along my foot, so I try not to get out of our ‘tent’ until morning.
I was given a lesson in washing clothes Haitian style this morning at 6am. I miss my washing machine and the iron: I’m like a scruffball, but so is everybody else, so it doesn’t really matter. We don’t even have a mirror in our room, so no need to worry about makeup either – life is really a lot simpler!
Today, we took some of the children from the orphanage on a boat to a beautiful beach for a swim. The shelter was where Warren worked last year, the place where he disturbed a nest of snakes – thank God they weren’t available for interview today.
Unbelievable amount of organising to do this: two children at a time are carried on a stretcher by two lads about 1/2 km to the boat, then we have to walk with the more able-bodied children, and bring hammock chairs, mats to lie them on, towels and all the normal stuff. There’s also water for drinking and the big pots of lunch to feed them – what a palava! – but they had great fun. I was terrified in case I would let somebody slide in or drown one of them but, to be honest, I stuck to the feeding and carrying.
My biggest challenge came when I volunteered to walk with one lad back up the hill to the orphanage: he was bigger than me and he thought he would lean his whole body against me, so I was nearly pushing him. Then he decided to sit down halfway home – I am absolutely shattered this evening!
I had my hair done by my new friends: I doubt they have ever seen anybody as white as me or with hair like mine. I’m like the ‘hair bear bunch’ but they seem to love it. I am getting to know some real wee characters: my Creole is non-existent but my French O Level is helping me understand bits and pieces. It would be better to be able to converse with the kids in their own language, but it is funnier teaching them ‘Derry’ and we are well able to manage.
This evening, we visited another orphanage which houses 11 boys. Warren built a play park here last year, and he was able to give it a service. They were lovely boys and very well mannered.
First ride on a motorbike home in the dark this evening on these dirt track roads: I must be getting braver.
Time to hit the hay – I wouldn’t have the energy to watch TV even if we had one and it’s not even 8 o’clock. 20,000 steps again today!