Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Nan Ayiti

The key to travel, especially when it’s for work, or for a longer period of time, is to establish routine.  Routine is actually supposed to play a large role in happiness in general, but is not something I pay much attention to during my day to day in Pittsburgh.

Anyways, these first couple days at Cange have been largely about finding a working groove; in a hectic, unpredictable, environment that operates on a different schedule, and language, and culture than anything I’ve had much experience working in before.  I have been overwhelmed, and discouraged, and have experienced both emotions while running on low blood sugar, making me question what about working in garbage was appealing to me. Only to be reminded a couple hours later, after a full meal, when talking with the hospital staff about what we’re trying to accomplish and I see other people get excited about trash too. Then I remember how cool this work can actually be.

Working in Haiti is all about living in the woosh. Constantly.

But, back to routine. So the thing that is fun about routine while traveling is that you do something relatively normal, but in a completely foreign context, which makes it fascinating.

Par example:

-         Ian and I went for a run the first night we came to Cange.  Cange is on the side of a mountain. There was recently an awesome water project put in place providing the village with clean drinking water, pumped up from a lake at the bottom of the mountain. In order to complete the construction for this project, roughly 700+ steep steps were built along the side of the mountain.  We decided to run these steps.  Then, not only are we running up and down steps, amidst breathtaking views, but you find yourself saying things that never get said on a Pittsburgh run, like:

“"Watch out for the goat straight ahead.” Or,

o   “Oh, there’s a snake.”
o   “And that would be a poisonous snake.”
o   “Well, then, I won’t step on it.”

Exercise is taken to a whole new level here.

-       Meals. We eat twice a day. Early morning, and late afternoon, and you would think you’d be starving for dinner, but you’re so hungry for lunch that you eat a ton, and you’re actually fine.  You also sit down at a table to eat. With lots of other interesting people. Who you like have a conversation with and stuff.  Too many of my lunches consist of snacks eaten at my desk.

-       And of course, even though we’re working “in the field” so to speak, there’s still computer time.  Data that needs to be entered, emails that need to get written, notes that need to be organized. However, when your office comes with this view…

It’s not that bad.

In the thick of things, and still loving my job.  That’s a good feeling to have.

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