Birthday Celebrations Haitian Style

Trip Start Aug 19, 2003
Trip End Feb 20, 2004

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Thursday, December 11, 2003

Seasons Greetings!

Today is December 11, 2003 and I am sitting in the Peace Corps office in Petionville, Port-au-Prince. Today was a perfect day for celebrating my birthday because I got all of the packages that were "missing in action" during my first three months of training. Thank you, Mindy Pappas, Andy Sebrell and Mom (I think I got every one!). I also got a lot of birthday packages from my new address for which I will send personalized thank you notes! After the Thanksgiving festivities, I returned to my site for a few days. I taught my English classes, which I am growing more and more comfortable doing and worked out some of the details for the upcoming vet seminars I will be working on in January. A handful of American vets are coming down to do trainings for some of the Haitian vets in my area. On Friday, the 5th, I returned to the north of the Central Plateau for a wedding of a Belgian couple that works for a NGO here in Haiti (I talked about them last entry!). Well the wedding was a blast! They got married under a waterfall two hours from Hinche, the capitol of the Central Plateau. The ceremony was conducted by a voodoo hougan who made circles on the ground in three different colors of chalk and created designs that symbolized love. The drums were banging and the voodoo people were singing. The waterfall was spectacular in the back. After the ceremony we rode back to Myisod in the back of a pickup truck in the rain. It was not that fun but we made the best of it. The rain was left over from the Tropical Storm that went through the Dominican Republic. The reception that night had cake, Haitian food and the volunteers made guacamole. We danced compa late into the night and woke up early the next day and made breakfast with the people that came from Port-au-Prince in Haiti. Many of the volunteers went back to their sites that morning but a few of stayed the night in Myisod hoping for a free ride on Monday. We got one Monday morning with an artist who was raised in Switzerland but moved back to Haiti to work at the art gallery that her grandfather founded. Her life is a side of Haiti we have not run into before, the high society life of Petionville. It was interesting to talk to her about what she thinks about the situation in Haiti. I arrived back at my house Monday afternoon, taught two classes on Tuesday and then Pat and Sarah had a birthday dinner for me. They made spaghetti with a vegetable cheese sauce that was out of this world. We really do eat very well down here because we can cook for ourselves now. Wednesday, I talked with some of the people I work with and then Sarah, Pat and I had another afternoon feast of hotdogs, potato salad and guacamole (we make guacamole daily and I believe we could give some restaurants a run for their money!). Wednesday night I had another surprise when Theresa, Jessica and Megan came over with Christmas lights for my birthday and lots of fresh fruits for blending fruit shakes. This morning we got up at 4am for the 30-mile drive to Port-au-Prince. We arrived at our hotel at 9am! This morning we talked to some of the staff and ran errands around the city. I need a wheelbarrow to take all the things you all sent me back to the hotel!! Thanks everyone! Tonight we will go see RAM and tomorrow we will probably go to visit the volunteer, David Holland, in Kenscoff. Kenscoff is up in the mountains and never gets above 75 degrees. My site is usually at about 90 degrees all the time! I just wanted to let you know that I had a great birthday and the celebration continues this weekend! Thank you for everything you sent I appreciate it so much. The internet is acting up so the individual thank you notes will have to wait until next time. I will tell you about my adventures in Port-au-Prince some time next week! All the best as always!
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