Thursday, July 5, 2007

Tuesday, July 3- Theme of the Day: Find String

So, it has been discussed, debated upon, and decided that it makes sense to label each day here in Haiti by theme, and not day of the week. Today’s theme- find the string.

Before further expanding on this themed day, there is pertinent background information that must be clarified. A few days ago, Father Marc approached me with an object he wanted the artisans to attempt to make- a rosary made entirely of string, with a wooden crucifix at the bottom. “Sure, no problem. Our kids have oober talent- this will be a breeze. All we need to do is find the string.” Find the string- three words that turned Tuesday into a jaunt to be remembered.

(Per author discretion, the remainder of this entry will be written in the third person.)

After a morning of detours and roadblocks, Paige, Portia and Sammy arrive at La Madonne, ready to complete their mission.

As they step out of the gates of La Madonne, all three realize how hungry they are, and agree that in order to successfully complete this task, lunch is vital. They walk through the busy lunchtime traffic to Les Cayes Inn for a chicken sandwich and papaya smoothie. (Being the smoothie lover that she is, Paige is very happy about this treat and vows to make detours here as often as possible.)

Close to an hour later, tummies satisfied, the three begin their journey west, towards the central market. “Cho,” complains Sammy of the shining sun, as the sweat drips down his face. Portia and Paige both remind him of the slightly relieving breeze and roll their eyes at one another.

After approximately three blocks, two tricky maneuvers around trucks in the middle of the road, and a giant leap over a bacteria infested puddle, the trio makes it to the outer limits of the market. To the left they see rice bags emptied on the ground displaying the contents in need of purchasing, to the right they see women carrying small tubs filled with treasures on their heads. Through the center of it all are motos and machins, all fighting to be at the top of the food chain and get out first.

As they get deeper into the market, music is heard on a distorted radio, second hand clothing is displayed as if at a fashion expo, and children approach with small items such as gum and mangos in hopes their patrons will oblige.

Sammy is obviously the expert of this excursion as he pulls the rosary from his pocket, explains his need to the merchants, examines the prospective string, and moves on. “This one’s too big…this one’s too small…this one’s too thick…too thin…too coarse…too short…” The search goes on. Just as the three are beginning to feel defeated, something catches Sammy’s eye. With the grace of a gazelle, and the speed of a well tuned sports car, Sammy leaves the two girls struggling to keep up with him.

When the girls finally catch up, Sammy is staring starry eyed at a spool of thread that appears too good to be true. “It’s perfect!” Paige exclaims as she fingers the thread in her hands and steps back.

Too focused on the perfection that is string, she does not realize a tap-tap is plowing down the road in desperate need to conquer the market. Just as his horn begins to blow, Sammy grabs Paige by the arm and pulls her back to safety.

“Thanks, Sammy. That was close,” was all Paige says as she hands over the money to pay for the material.

All in good spirits, the three make their way back towards La Madonne. “Do you think I would be able to check a machete when I go home?” Portia asks the other two as they pass a man with a basket full on either side of him.

“hmm…” contemplates Paige as she side steps yet another moto at the last second.

As it so happens, the driver of the moto is one of Sammy’s friends. He laughs, asks for a dollar from Portia, hands it to his friend, hops on the back and takes off. As he disappears into the crowd, he turns, laughing and waving…leaving the two girls to walk the distance back on their own.

“Well…” says Paige, “That’s Haiti.”

Mission: Find the string. Complete.

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