I'm trying to learn Creole.
Over the past few months I'm proud to say that I've grown significantly in my ability to understand what Haitian's are talking about (as long as it is at a slow rate of speed), and I've received a few compliments here and there by Haitians about my communicating ability. I still have a very LONG way to go before I ever become fluent, but I seize every opportunity I get to pick up a few more words or tips. Fortunately, my complete immersion in this country has allowed there to be no shortage of good teachers!
Yesterday I learned another new word in the context of another 'only in Haiti' moment, so let me tell you about it.
Before church yesterday Rachel asked me if I would like to spend the afternoon with her going to Simonette to see Patris and his new wife, so I was definitely up for the outing.... Little did I know what other adventures the day would bring!
So after the service we met up with Patris who took us on his motorcycle first to Gwopapapou and from there to Simonette (which is like a 15 minute ride). The catch is that Wesley, another friend and mission worker also came along, so we had a bit of a dilemma.... Somehow we had to manage to get the 4 of us there, and we only had one motorcycle.
I have ridden on Patris' motorcycle with Rachel on numerous occasions to the restaurant, and although it is a little risky, it saves the 3 of us from having to walk. However, yesterday Patris decided that we should try to squeeze onto the motorcycle with the 4 of us and make our trek to Simonette. Well, if being white-skinned and blonde-haired wasn't already enough for Rachel and I to stand out, yesterday's ride certainly was! There we were riding on the motorcycle with Patris driving, Rachel next, me behind Rachel, and Wesley behind me. I'm sure it looked like we belonged in a circus! I couldn't stop laughing as we ventured through the jungle and waving to passerby's as we passed. It was wild!
So here is where my new word 'woy' comes in. I hear Rachel say it with expression every once and a while, and it was repeated often on our trip yesterday, so I asked Rachel what it meant. She said you say it when you are surprised, kind of like 'Whoa!' or 'Oh my goodness!', and it can mean something good or something bad. In our case, it was a little bit of both....
Part of the route to Simonette involves quite a steep hill that leads down to the road by the water. As we approached the hill, Patris began to coast, but even the lack of acceleration didn't slow us down in the least. We began to bump down the hill quite rapidly and I could barely stand to watch. It was a miracle that we made it down all in one piece!
Coming up a few hours later was a different story. This time we had to climb up the hill, and Patris' motorcycle, as powerful as it may be, didn't have the guts to get us to the top. As we began our ascent I could feel the engine start to fade, and Patris (who was pretty much sitting on top of the handlebars so that the rest of us could fit), wasn't able to properly steer, so with a choke and a cough the motorcycle quit and leaned to it's side spilling all of us off. Fortunately no one was hurt but there were quite a lot of 'Woy's coming not just from Rachel but me too!
Don't worry, the story doesn't end there. After we got off the ground and dusted ourselves off, we had to walk ourselves up the rest of the hill. Fortunately, Patris was able to get his motorcycle started again so we hopped back on and finished our journey back at the mission. Overall, it was an adventure in Haiti I will never forget! Woy! :)
I guess just reflecting on the whole experience of yesterday, I once again marvel at the way the Lord has protected me and kept me safe here in this foreign land. There are so many things that are normal in Haiti that would be so risky in Canada, and I'm definitely aware that the Lord has helped me to stay safe. And it's often not until after I do something that I think back and realize the potential dangers that could have happened, but I know that the Lord is watching out for me and for that I am grateful!
To close, I hope that today's entry has been familiar to my blogs in the past about my joy for living in Haiti. It was a hard time for me to let go of the wonderful time I had with the Canadian teams, and it's still not easy, but I am thankful for all of the Haitian people and children that have flooded me with love and affirmation for being in the place that God called me to be. I feel like I am getting my old self back a little more everyday and I so appreciate all of the prayers and encouragement from you all back home.
On Friday, Cortney (my cousin) will be arriving and spending her reading week here with me. I am so excited for her to see my life here and to get to spend time together in this wonderful place. And I'm sure she'll have her fair share of 'Woy' stories to share with you when she gets back! :)