We started our day in the Croix-des-Bouquets market. We were educated the night before and were told that we couldn’t take backpacks, purses, cameras, phones, etc. We needed to stay in a line and with the group at all times – we were not to stop to look at anything. It’s always a challenge for our security to take such a large group to the market and we needed to do all we could to make their jobs easier. Well, they could tell us all they wanted to but it truly couldn’t prepare for the actual market.
If you’ve ever watched, The Amazing Race, when they go to a local market in a third world country, then you have some idea. Even watching it on TV, I was not ready for the actual craziness. I would never attempt this on my own and am glad for our security and our translator. There were vendors, people, motorcycles, cars, jeeps, truck, BIG trucks, wheelbarrows, live animals, dead animals, etc. Anything you can think of was being sold. There were thousands of vendors. I was trying to take it all in but it was very difficult because you had to look down at your feet to watch where you were stepping. There were a few times that we had to grab the hands of the people in front of us and the people behind us. BUT i loved it!!! And can’t wait to go back!!!
We were purchasing live chickens, live goats, beans and rice. We went to the chicken lady first and let Ashley and the translator barter. I think we ended up with 10 chickens. They were tied together as pairs and we had to carry them by their feet. You can imagine that this was quite the feat 😉 They didn’t really like being carried upside down and would get a little agitated. Plus, from the time we bought them until we got back to the van was about one hour. So, they had lots of time to get unhappy.
We went to the meat section next…..that is the area that I didn’t like. Tables and tables of raw meat, organs, etc. It was warm so lots of flies and not a pleasant aroma to take in!!! But, that is where we had to purchase the live goats. I used some of the money given to me to purchase a goat. So they got me a little male goat – I named him, Bruno. And then I was able to parade Bruno all through the market. He actually was a good goat – he didn’t like to get his feet wet so any time we came to a little bit of water, he would just stop and I would have to pull him to get him to move. He also was quite hungry so would try to nibble on anything green that he saw. Of course, the Haitian vendors didn’t like that so I had to make sure he didn’t “steal” anything! You can imagine the fun we brought to the market. There were 15 of us “blancs” and we all were parading goats or carrying live chicken all through the market. One of the goats would just lie down in the middle of the road and refuse to move. So, our translator proceeded to just drag her as she bleated loudly! Yes, there were lots of smiles on the faces of the vendors and lots of laughter, as well. We crazy white people parading with our menagerie!
We took the animals back to Bon Sam orphanage and then drove over to FOSA orphanage to spend the rest of the day. Some of the team worked on getting the clothing and shoe sizes written down for all of the children. The guys started building some storage trunks. And then some of us went to another market so Mariflor could purchase the items to make us dinner. Of course, I went with that group. I loved the market experience and wanted to see a different one. This second one was nicer and not as chaotic as the first one. After that we went to a very nice grocery store, and we enjoyed some cheese, some bread, and a bathroom with running water!!! The rest of the day was spent having a Valentine’s Day Party with the kids, giving the kids their sponsor gifts and then enjoying a fabulous dinner made by Mariflor. We had okra, plantains, potatoes, bread, spaghetti with a meat gravy and onions, peppers and garlic. It was SOOOOO good! Our van stopped at a cafe on the way back to Bon Sam to get food for a volunteer who had been ill – it was quite fun because the cafe is called, Vols Cafe, and is decorated in orange and white…but it has nothing to do with the state of Tennessee. Dena and I were happy girls because they had an espresso machine and we were able to get a latte. It’s the little things, folks!
It was a great day – lots of fun memories made. Some discovered that the market was not their thing and they don’t ever want to go back 🙂 Others of us loved the adventure and the chaos. We ended the evening on the roof under the starry skies and shared our highs for the day, lows for the day, prayers, and devotion. Then went to bed and fell asleep to the sounds of the Haitian city. Nothing like it!