The land here is beautiful. We stayed in Pastor’s house and in the backyard, there are several farm animals. Right beyond the pigs is a long river. It is clean and after our arrival, Betty and I went swimming. After a long trip and being in the heat, the river so so refreshing. I needed that. In Carrefour, there are no beaches or rivers that are nearby, so it will not be often when I get to hop in and swim like the mermaid I am.
After our swim break, Pastor took myself, Betty and Theo, Phalone, Angie and Dani to the beach for an amazing fish dinner. We went into the back where the food was being prepared and literally picked an entire fish out of a bowl. ENTIRE FISH; head, eyeballs, tail and all. I nearly lost my mind. I couldn’t stop laughing out of fear. This was a joke right? Nobody was really going to slap this fish onto a grill and serve it to me on a plate... but they did. With onions above, fried plantains, tomatoes and carrots on top and avocado on the side. “Enjoy!” ... I almost lost it again. After trying to get to past the bones, the fish itself taste good, but the head and rack of bones looked like the fish skeleton you see on tv. I gave it to Betty and a dog jumped up and ate it out of her hand. I can’t say I was upset.
Many of the children stared at me for a long time. I do not think many Haitians understand the concept of Blackness. To them, dark skin is Black. Therefore, I am white. However, there are so many rich shades of Black that range from very light to very dark. In America, I see that every day, but in Haiti, light people look foreign. They do not fit in. Even those that live there seem as if maybe they came from the Dominican.
So all day, the children called me “Blanc,” for white. “Nom se Alyssa,” I would correct them. It shouldn’t have bothered me, but I’m not even white. I didn’t want to be labeled. I’m already the outcast, the English speaking American girl. What bothered me most however, is that there were two very fair skinned children at the church. The other kids were laughing at them and pointing at me, insisting that we were the same. I’m sure me being there brought up uncomfortable feelings for the two little ones that have already gotten over their different appearance. At one point, the little girl was crying and I just assured her that she is beautiful.
The children danced to music as they ate rice and beans for lunch. It was the cutest thing. Maybe one day I will learn to dance too.
Afterwards, I had some bread for lunch. I couldn’t find the rice and beans that had been prepared for me, but bread was fine. There is a Haitian bread here that I really like. It’s probably regular, but I like to think that it is special. Then, myself, Betty, all of the teachers and a number of the children went swimming in the river. We played games and laughed for almost two hours until it was time for Betty and I to pack our belongings and head back to Carrefour. I enjoyed myself and I have over 70 mosquito bites to prove it.