simple

Jenn and I hadn't gotten out of the house yet this weekend so we both woke up feeling like today was the day. We should. We should make something of the weekend. We should do something. The trouble is if your looking for something to do, for the mere pleasure of doing there's not a whole lot to work with.

We looked at eachother today, feeling like 13 year old girls, desperate for someone to magically appear for our entertainment, or some grand plan to rescue us from boredom. We tried, maybe 3 or 4 times to resurrect enough weekend zest to get ourselves out of the apartment. Tried 3 times and failed. Each time at least one of us found a reason to veto said plan. 

In America there are loads of options for varying budgets, coffee shops, movies, parks, friends with pools, friends with movies, friends with food, a new restaurant for everyday of the month, or year in some parts.... but here we have considerably less options. We do have some options though. So what was our deal?? 

We had a great conversation while trying to sort out this minor, (very minor), dilemma.
We had decided against the beach since we went last week and it felt wrong indulging in that lovliness two weekends in a row. It seems unfair to have this privilege when so many of our Haitian friends don't. We had reservations about going out to eat because we've just established a great little envelope system for keeping our food spending in check and we didn't want to abort the plan so soon...
We didn't want to drive anywhere too particularly far in order to be good stewards of our vehicle and its perpetual need for diesel. It's living this lifestyle where we seek to spend less and serve more, that we run into these conflicting thoughts. Today was another perfect example.

Jenn's been talking about getting a blender non-stop for two weeks. Especially now that it's mango season and the yellow fruit is piled high in the streets, she's been borderline obsessed with acquiring this appliance. I tried to tell her that fruit is still fruit whether blended or not blended, but I know how much this girl loves smoothies so I agreed that it should be become part of the plan. Finding a blender and some mangoes actually sounded like a pretty good afternoon adventure. We went straight to a street where we've seen rows of blenders lined up inside and outside of people's homes. If Cap Haitien were Costco, we were in the blender aisle. However just as soon as Jenn heard the asking price, let's just say she changed her mind about wanting a blender...real quick.

It was after 3 pm when we left the house, but we still made it out. And since Haiti is practicing daylight savings this year we enjoyed a solid 4 hours of afternoon beauty. We ditched the truck and were immediately happy with that decision. Walking gets us up close and personal with the people and places that make Haiti unique. We tried to snap a few pictures of the city to share.


Drive North on this road and it takes you straight into the heart of Cap Haitien. Just days ago this area was impossibly pitted with potholes and only negotiable in first gear. Still buses and construction trucks tear through the area which creates a ton of dust. When you go through the worst of it, it's almost like clockwork the way people bring their hands up to cover their noses or pull rags from their purses that have been brought along specifically for this purpose.

A few weeks back this was the site of some road blocks that were set up in protest of the bad conditions. The signs literally read: we are tired of dust. But this week the road was completely leveled which means, just maybe, it might also be paved. We hope so! Quality of life for the people in this zone would improve significantly.

The streets of Cap Haitien.
Taken after the blender incident.

We decided to fill up on lunch/dinner at the bakery in town. 
Not buying a blender saved us money, right? 
The portions are perfect. We can always get by with sharing. 

We decided to keep walking towards the town square. Coincidently, or maybe not, Jenn pointed out an empty bench directly across from her regular smoothie stop. 
We sat and waited for it to get dark enough for the city power to kick on. 

 

The waiting was no problem at all. It fact it was a pleasure to sit and people watch, to be surprised when the shop owner's son unbolted the doors, and delighted when a motorcycle pulled up to deposit a chest of ice.


We enjoyed seeing the shop owner's husband carefully prepare for an evening of sales. He swept the outside stairs and mopped inside and out. Then he and his son, systematically and without words, carefully put everything in it's place. Jenn did get a little impatient eventually though, and went up to check if the electricity had been turned on yet.



Behind us, the square was buzzing with activity. Parents sitting with their kids, and each other. A few unaccompanied young ones had managed to duck out of a nearby church service and were causing mischief in their Sunday best. We saw several young girls in elaborate communion dresses and a cake fit for a wedding. Oh to be young and in a puffy white dress. I'm fairly certain I would have hated such a day. But in a culture that prides itself on looking your best, these girls were soaking up the attention. They were all smiles as they headed off to celebrate with entourages of adoring relatives. In fact, everyone in the park looked good and almost everyone seemed to be at ease. Their trips to the park were intentional; a reason to put on a fresh outfit, to do their hair, to gather up their family members. Clearly, they had the right idea. 

Eventually Jenn got her smoothie and we headed home. 
We might have to do this more often.