Sixth Day – Things I’ve Learned So Far
- A breezy day can change your outlook on life
- Canadians can be whiny-butts when they don’t get the sun they want
- Unprompted hugs from little ones is what it’s all about
- Befriending locals & being remembered feels great – like you actually belong
- “Clean” is an entirely subjective term & quite flexible
I’ve gotten in good with both the ladies who run the kitchen. Mary is the head honcho, and Vanicia (her niece) works the days she doesn’t. Mary’s sister, Sandra, works in the dorms & rules with an iron hand. These ladies are a trip! I think they like having me around, or at least they seem to. I get the feeling like most volunteers probably don’t dive in to the mountain of dishes on the regular… and I doubt too many of them start insisting on recipes. Who knows, maybe it’s a Southern Woman thing… South & way South. Ha! I got called a “genie” today for working by myself on the breakfast dish pile – not sure what the local translation/reference for that is, but I’m assuming it’s good.
Most of the kids had today off – the teachers at the Catholic school were apparently on strike. The Adventist kids still had to go, but only for a 1/2 day. We spent the morning doing laundry, yard-work, and keeping an eye on the kids. Some of them were trying to chase all the chickens back into the pen… they were hysterical.
Mr. Waffi brought me a flower because he’d given me some trouble (all good-natured) while I was doing breakfast dishes. At one point, I stood smirking with my soapy hands on my hips & leveled “the look” at him & was like “What do you want NOW?!” I swear I was channeling my Grandmamma. In any case, it was sweet of him to bring me the flower – and it was really beautiful.
Sonja, the Jamaican lady who runs the laundry, is a trip. She wanted to make sure she got out of here on time today, so she was being a drill sergeant. She told one of the other volunteers “I’m no gon’ tell ju ju do it wrong, but ‘dis ‘ow him go.” Love. Her!
Before lunch, some of us sat outside taking a little break & watched one of the volunteers from England play cricket with some of the kids. A couple were pretty good, but the match wasn’t – fun to watch, though! Thoroughly entertaining.
Walked down to the laundromat to check on hours & cost – really going to be the best option to go there instead of trying to fit loads in at a time between Liberty’s – whew! Stopped off at the sub shop to grab a juice (soursop this time) and chatted with the same girls who worked yesterday. They asked how I liked my dinner. It was nice to be remembered, though I don’t guess there are too many pale chicks rolling through there, so there is that.
One thing that really strikes me about the people here is how friendly & courteous they are. They have so little, relatively speaking, and yet they understand that being nice costs nothing. Doesn’t matter if they’re serving you, waiting for a bus with you, passing on the street, or being asked for directions. There’s always a smile and just plain hospitality. The volunteers were talking about how nice the people are and how there’s always a greeting when you pass someone on the street. The couple from England said it reminded them of Atlanta (they’d spent a few days there before coming here) and I just beamed with pride for my home.
Tonight a few of us went in search of a new bar that just opened up, but when we got there the music was so loud we couldn’t hear each other outside, so we decided to backtrack to Daisy’s Cool Spot which is closer to Liberty. We sat, talked, had a couple of drinks, and just relaxed. It was nice and a bit of a change from the routine.
So I’ve been here a week now, and it’s amazing how different things are. The weather has been a little cooler, and that’s helped, but I’m really getting to enjoy my time here. I woke up this morning eager to get started – just like I felt last night.
While I’ll be very glad to get home, this place has undoubtedly become a part of me. A part that I will treasure always. It’s starting to feel like I belong.
And I do miss home – but I find it’s the “little things” that I’m actually missing at this point –
- Taking a shower at the temp I want… and having it stay there
- Being able to get online or call someone for information
- The freedom of being in my own home
- Being able to call the cops when there is music so loud that the bass pounds through your brain
- BEEF… omg beef – I’m not going to have chicken, rice, or beans for quite a while after I get home
- Tap water that’s safe to drink
- Smelling good!!
But by the same token, when I get home I’m truly going to miss taking a stroll whenever I want and getting groceries, dinner, fresh bread, the most amazing fruits… and being greeted along the way.
It’s really something.