Jan 18, 2022


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Le Saut Falls, Sodo, Haiti

douard Jean. Toussaint Dirige Vers la Bataille


Living on Haiti Time

by John Rigdon

We had scarcely arrived in Haiti when all the kids (and some of the Adults) began coming around to the kitchen asking what time we'd be having supper. Mrs. Ann's response was "Oh, about supper time".

Well, what time is it now?

"Well, I don't rightly know. It's after lunch and hmmn. That clock over the door in the kitchen has stopped. Let's see, are we on Daylight savings time or Eastern Standard?"

It took over 4 hours for someone to round up a battery and decide that we were indeed on Daylight Savings time.

But along about supper time, supper was indeed ready and the next question, "When is breakfast" was answered "Oh, about breakfast time."

One of the neat customs I observed was that when two people were engaged in a conversation, NO ONE ever interrupted them regardless of how important their perceived question may be. The Haitians would come up and stand patiently about 8 feet away. The two people engaged in conversation would often go on for 15 - 20 minutes and never acknowledge the others' presence. By and by, when the conversation was completed, the third person would have their turn.

Since returning home I have become acutely aware of how often we are interrupted in the middle of a sentence and we turn and pursue the new conversation and never return to the first person to complete out thought.

Since I was playing cook I found myself getting really antsi when someone would engage me in some conversation and we'd grow closer and closer to "suppertime" - sometime going 15 to 20 minutes past what I had mentally set as "supper time" but all in all we got our meals on time and everybody was fed and happy and by Wednesday everyone had learned to come when the bell rang because that was indeed the "time that supper was about ready."

Thursday morning someone reminded me of the verse in Isaiah 40:31:

"They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint."

My mind immediately turned to the eagles that I see soaring overhead from my front porch. (one got my cat last winter but that's another story) - and to the fact that I had not heard a single bird in Haiti all week.

These children probably don't even know what an eagle is, and again I weep for Haiti that one day they may mount up once again as eagles.

P.S. Oh, yes, I did hear birds in Haiti. There were all these stupid chickens and the rooster that always crowed at 8:30 each morning - 3 1/2 hours after I had gotten up to fix breakfast.

Go figure.

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