I didn't sleep at all last night. There was an insane downpour, so the mosquitos were out in full force. Between that and the unreliability of the power, it was very difficult to sleep. Nevertheless somehow I woke up this morning feeling recharged. The aftermath of the intense storm last night left it cooler today, and that was a much needed break for us from the intensity of the heat. There are no lessons on Sunday, which was a nice breath for me after the back to back day I had yesterday. Orchestra meets on Sunday, which Lauren, Heidi, and Diana would be helping with (the other three musicians from Boston I came with - all string players). I went to go watch. It was really exciting and brought a huge smile to my face to see all of these musicians, young and old, who came together wanting to learn. The children were all smiles playing their instruments, and you can immediately see just how much music is a necessity like air is, for the Haitian community.
After orchestra and lunch, we had the rest of the day free to do as we wanted. I have been dying to see the beach since I have gotten here (obviously) so Alland, one of the students at the school and also the secretary for the school, said he would take us.
The beach is not far, but certainly not walkable - about a 20 min drive from the place we are staying. We would go by tap tap, which is a small truck with a canvas roof and bench seats on either side- a form of public transportation for the Haitians. From the outside it sort of looks like the Mexican party bus my friend Erica used to rent for her birthday.
As we were waiting for the Tap Tap, the inhabitants next door started playing some traditional calypso/Haitian music. The streets are so calm and empty on Sundays, I asked Heidi if she would demonstrate the famous compa style of dancing, a sensual style of dancing Haitians are known for. So we all start attempting this dance in the streets, and the neighbors start cracking up at us as we are just failing to move in the way we should be. Heidi asks if the will demonstrate for us, and so the man grabs his wife and just does it right, and man is it sexy! I want my man dancing with me like that all the time. We start hooting and hollering at the couple, and they laugh- it was kind of one of those magical moments you can only have when traveling.
It started raining, and the girls became a little hesitant to go to the beach. I was adamant. So we piled into the tap tap, which no joke is like a Haitian clown car! It's like just when you can't seriously believe more people can fit, more people somehow DO fit. People just bang on one of the rods with a Haitian goarde and the driver knows to stop. Someone gets off, and like five more people get on!
We get to the road leading to the beach, and we realize we have to walk about a 1/4 mile to get to the beach. Now, I'm not a princess, but it was muddy as fuuuuuck, and I think at this point the girls started to curse me a bit.
We walk though the mud and the drizzle, around and about huge piles and piles of trash, until we finally make it to the beach. It's pretty dirty on the beach, but also charming and full of character.
A little further down some Canadians are playing ball with a group of young Haitian boys. These boys are fast!! And so friendly, showing off for us doing pushups and hand stands, smiling the biggest toothy grin they could make - it was really so cute!
We splash around in the water a bit
and suddenly the sky turns black. Just absolutely black. We know what's coming. We try to run as fast as we can, but it's chaotic and everyone apparently has the same idea as we do. You would think the end of the world is coming!
We don't make it far at all, and all of a sudden the sky opens up the hugest torrential downpour I have ever seen in my life. I literally thought a tornado was coming. We run and take shelter under this huge hut, when Haitians are eating and dancing their faces off. A live band is playing troubadour music and everyone is just living it up and having a great time despite the crazy storm outside. Clearly, we have nothing to do, no where to go, so we join the fun, just dancing and laughing under this torrential downpour.
Somehow Alland manages to get a hold of the tap tap driver by phone and so within 15 minutes time the tap tap driver is here, in the flood and the mud to pick us up. We wade into ankle deep water and climb up into the tap tap, and take off.
The tap tap is shaky, swaying from side to side in the wind and under the weight of the rain. Inside the tap tap, a group of Haitians are getting wasted off some strong ass rum with sugar cane, drinking right out of the bottle, which for them looks like one of those gasoline canisters. I guess they know how to enjoy a storm!
The ride back was kind of an exhilarating experience, and also hilarious- with haitians drinking In the corner and us huddled under big-ass blue poncho. At some point during the journey, it appears that one of the dudes on the tap tap has to take a piss, and apparently when duty calls, it calls. He stands at the edge of the tap tap, just getting a beating under the rain, unzips, and urinates off the back of the moving tap tap. I have never seen anything like it, but I commend the guy for his resourcefulness!
The whole experience was just enlightening and hilarious, and I feel like I just got a little but more insight into how easy going and chill the Haitians are.
The rain didn't let up all evening so we spent the rest of the day just listening to music, writing and exchanging teaching stories. When we finally became too hungry, we got decked out in our ponchos and tevas and heading to chandelier restaurant for some poissant gros sel. It was a good day.