There is so much beauty and confusion in this country I can barely keep my mind in one place throughout the day. Literally it reels. There are at times road blocks as we move forward to fill our first order-from pay scale, to logistics of importing to the practical aspect of finding the right pieces to work with. But there is so much beauty in the contacts we are making, relationships we are building and through watching and helping our clothing come to life. Of course ‘progress’ is never a linear line, but wow is it ever noticeable as we take this slow fashion journey with the men and women we are working with at INDEPCO. So much has happened this past week-from our work, to travel to going out and experiencing nightlife inPort-au-Prince. Allow me to elaborate a wee bit….
The sun sets early here, at 6pm, a much different vibe from ourTorontolate sunsets and later nights out. At the beginning of our trip we found ourselves falling into bed early each night as each day continues to bring with it a great range of emotions; from extreme highs and laughter to low lows of anger and sadness. Last Wednesday we hit the streets for Pepe. We started the morning off by mindfully meandering the streets with Perez in search of a pair of sunglasses that I broke the night before as I sat on them…Perez proved to be a great help throughout the day. After purchasing my new stylish glasses to repel the sun we hoped in a taxi. The day was supposed to be seen via motorcycle but alas safety was deemed more important than our yearn for adventure.
We visited a different market this time around-one that had everything from food, to Pepe, to new clothing and toys. The smell at times was a little less than pleasant, but our feet clad in our beat up Tom’s shoes we were ready for it all. Perez, a master negotiator, was incremental in getting us the best price possible for our purchases. As we walked through the stalls we were met with much laughter and bewilderment. We were on the search for GIANT pairs of jeans, men’s jackets and plaid dress shirts. Not exactly what you picture two young girls searching for. It was so hot I actually think I sweat more there than I do in my Bikram Yoga classes.
We loaded ourselves down with all our ‘new’ purchases and headed to the artisan market. There, we were taken up a tower to see the solar panels and batteries that are used to power the market. It was a welcome climb up the tower as just the previous night we had been wondering about the uses of alternative forms of energy and innovation inHaiti. How fitting that we be exposed to an example the next day.
We then found ourselves en route to an orphanage our host, Vincent, is working with. As we walked in the kids were in a semi circle singing, playing drums and calling each other out to dance. The joy in the place was palpable, as was the sadness. We spoke with the men and women who dedicate their days and nights to the children who stay there. Being with the kids made me realize that I may one day find myself working at an orphanage-I didn’t want to leave. I took to little Sony, the sweetest young boy with a gentle demeanor and ever present smile. It was while he was on my lap that I was informed that not only was he with out parents but he had a hernia-which caused major swelling and discomfort in his stomach and genital area and needed to go to the doctor. No child so young should ever feel such emotional and physical pain.
Yet he sat with me as if he were happy as could be. Not to sound like a bleeding heart, but it actually pulled at my heart strings. I found myself so upset. Yet what does my sorrow do for the situation? Nothing. I felt helpless, only imagining how he, Sony, must feel in the situation. Perhaps he knows no different, but is that not just as tragic? He has been on mind ever since, and we plan to go back to the orphanage, where I hope to find him peacefully recovering from surgery.
Of course there are many adventures to be had no matter where you are and we have experienced many. From dancing
the nights away throughout thePort-au-Princebar scene, to a lovely weekend getaway in Port Salut where we soared amid a cascading waterfall into fresh, cool water. The experiences both invigorating and heart wrenching for sure will continue.