Showing posts sorted by relevance for query wall sitting. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query wall sitting. Sort by date Show all posts

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Just me and the chickens. And a couple of goats. And wall-sitting Haitians.

Some mornings, Dolly helped in the clinic. She was a labour and delivery nurse for many years and so she tolerates the sight of yukky things much better than I. So she weighed and measured babies and took blood pressures of mamas. 
I was banished to the road to help on a painting project. 
The road outside the clinic looks like this to the east...

...and this to the west.

Mamas knocking at the gate, rat-tat-tatting to be let in by Jason, the guard, is a common sight. 

There is a rooster, of uncertain ownership, that pecks around in the dirt outside the gate.
I am not clear on the attraction of roosters for the Haitian people. They are raucous at all hours of the day, but particularly at 4 o'clock in the morning, when the roosters perform their own version of the "twilight bark" from 101 Dalmations.

Segue please.
Haitian roosters make me grumpy.
In fact, I was asking Santo (resident translator and general go-to guy at the clinic) why we owned a rooster, he informed me that it was so that the hens would lay eggs.
But Santo, I said patiently, you don't need a rooster to get eggs.
Yes, you do, he replied, with a barely disguised pity in his eyes.
No, you don't, I insisted.
Yes, you do.
Oookay. I gave up. Sometimes, you just have to know when to concede defeat. This was one of them. There is also the matter of the lone egg that sits on the roosting shelf in the hen coop that supposedly incites the Dominican hens to lay eggs. Not working so far, people! I just hope that it never falls on the ground and breaks, or it will surely asphyxiate the chickens.

Aaand, there are the two pregnant mama goats, who belong to Jason, the afore-mentioned guard. I got a kick out of the number of times per hour that Jason peeks his head around the gate to check on his babies. He does love his goats!

Walls in Haiti are canvasses for art. 
Sometimes it is utilitarian, like this...

...and sometimes it is much more decorative.
I confessed to being slightly artistic, so Sarah asked me to help Wilfred, the brother of one of our translators, whom she had hired to paint a mural about healthy water practices. 
I love Haitian art. It is primitive and colourful and depicts ordinary, yet idealistic, aspects of everyday life in Haiti. It has an optimism that I like to think will be rewarded some day with bliss.
Wilfred has lofty goals. He told me that he wants to be a great person some day. I think he already is a great person, but I hope he also figures out how he can become successful, which is what I think he meant.

Wilfred used a pencil and an oft-abused level to rough out the rectangle that would contain the mural. 
No, he did not entrust me with any of this task.

But he did allow me to help paint the white background.
This is Jude, another brother, who is a happy fellow and liked to make fun of me, especially when I made strange noises because I was so hot. As in "elevated temperature", not "degree of coolness".

The wall on this side of the street was in direct sunlight all of the day, so the general strategy was to paint until you couldn't stand it any more, then go sit on the shady side of the street to recover.
Whereupon, I (and Dolly, when she was helping) learned the fine art of wall-sitting, one of my favourite aspects of Haitian culture.
Don't we do it well?

I had retired to the house one day and when I came outside again, Jude and another friend and helper (wall-sitter) Black Yves were snoring loudly next to the wall.

For a second, I believed them, but then they both burst out laughing.
Funny, guys!

It soon became apparent that I was not to be allowed to tarnish Wilfred's masterpiece with my amateur strokes, so I made this large painted space for notices. The usual practice is for people to slap notices randomly on walls, so Sarah decided to supply a delineated space and ask people to get permission from MBH before they posted their papers. 

I also made this tree for some of the local children to decorate with their hand-prints.

One day, it rained as we were working on our separate walls, and the boys rigged up this ingenious way of protecting their work.

It took them all week to complete the project.

Wilfred stopped by the night before we left. I had asked him to make a painting for me, but he had forgotten that I was leaving so soon. He told me that Jude had asked him to tell me that he thought of me as his friend.
Sweet Jude.
I left some money with Sarah, so I may yet get that painting.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Nana Files Day Four: a mishap or two

Seven o'clock arrived just as promptly as ever and we made a quick start on the morning by playing outside. It was sunny and windy and cool. The girls discovered the joy of wall sitting.  And we kicked balls around. 

We took a morning break from the TV, much to London's disgruntlement, and listened to children's songs on Alexa. There was much singing and dancing.

It was a nice overcast day, so after nap (Scarlet slept for three hours, I think I am wearing the little darlings out) we set off for the first park again in the wagon. I felt pretty energetic, much less achy than I've been for a while, so I figured the exercise was doing me good. We were almost to the water tower when I realised that one of the girls' water bottles was missing. Miss Scarlet must have biffed it over the side. Casualty number one of the day. I decided to wait until the walk home to look for it, as we were more than halfway to the park.
Miss London was full of smiles on the swing again.

And Scarlet rampaged all over the play structure, waving at everyone she saw. The girl has never met a stranger.

We had gotten a late start on the adventure, thanks to Scarlet's long nap, so it was after five when I finally talked London into leaving. I had promised her that we would stop by the lake to feed some bread crusts to the ducks, so we went home a different way. We were walking on the path by the lake and I was thinking to myself how nice it felt to be walking and not be in any kind of pain when BAM! I hit the ground, making a very inelegant and primal noise as I fell. I lay there for a moment, feeling all of the pain that had been absent a moment before, and a nice lady came up and asked if I was okay. I checked myself over, noting bruised knees and palms and wounded pride, but nothing apparently serious. She helped me to my feet and I hobbled off. 
We stopped a few yards on to feed the ducks and a couple of geese who were, of course, voracious in their feeding and so London hot-footed it back to the wagon and Scarlet chased the birds. Scarlet threw an 8.5 on the Richter scale fit when I made her get back in the wagon and then I noticed that my favourite Vista balloon cap was gone. I had put it on Scarlet's head because the wind was nearly at gale force and I thought it would help protect her little face. I was reluctant to allow another casualty of the outing so I retraced my steps and luckily it was lying in the middle of the path, just around the corner of the lake. 
On we went. Pretty soon, Scarlet had had enough of being in the wagon and so had London, so London pulled the wagon while I held Scarlet's hand. The going was veeeerrrrryy slow.

We made a detour back to the highway where the water bottle had escaped. I figured there was a slim chance we might find it on this part of the route. We arrived at the intersection and I scanned back down the road where we wouldn't be walking in case it was visible. Nope. Then London said, Look Nana, the top of the water bottle! I couldn't see it at first and doubted her, but then I saw it, sitting on the grass on the corner. It was only the top and it had obviously been run over by a car, but what are the odds of it being right there where we joined up with the highway? Bizarre. Sorry Sam.
The highway was a wind tunnel, it was ferocious. We were walking into the wind, poor Scarlet was facing it and there was not a thing I could do. She pulled her coat up to her face and sucked madly on her thumb. The poor dear was terribly tired but was such a trouper. 
Neither child took much convincing at bedtime. 
Me, I took three ibuprofen and watched the latest episode of Mercy Street then went to bed. I feel better than I thought I would this morning, just some stiffness in the parts that hit the ground, so the damage must not have been too bad. Either that, or I have mad recovery skills. 

If you know me, you will be surprised at this next photo. I think it's the first picture I have ever posted of a cat anywhere. Mad Max and I have a tenuous relationship. He claimed my stomach a couple of nights ago and I was okay with it until he started attacking my nice new watch that my honey gave me for Valentine's Day. Then he was ousted. 
I'm not sure who will be happier to see Mommy and Daddy, Max or the girls!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

What men love to do

Yeah, I'll bet this blog post gets a lot of unlikely hits, thanks to that title.
Maybe I should change it.

I just counted photos in the last post.
This one has only two.
And there was much rejoicing!

So, last week I made some unusual purchases.
Unusual, in that they are rare kinds of purchases.
I found a rather large television on clearance at Freddie's. It is 3D and wi-fi and LED and was only a third of the original price.
"I'll take it," I said.
Then, of course, I had to buy a wall mount and a new Blue-ray player, as our old VCR/DVD player just didn't cut it. According to the man of the house.
I also bought five smoke detectors from Lowe's.
Of course you do!

A week has passed, and this is the TV in the rec room, all wall-hung and polished and Netflix-ready.

And these are the smoke detectors, sitting in a sad little pile in the man cave.

I think I have discovered a new weapon that is vastly superior to nagging.
It's called blogging!
Feel free to exert peer pressure on the man of the house.

P.S. The television that was replaced was about twenty years old.
In case you were wondering.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The location

I thought you would better understand my experience here if I first showed you my surroundings.
This is the house in which MamaBabyHaiti resides. It's a rather grand afffair, by Haitian standards, and is surrounded by similar houses, only most of them stand uninhabited and in various states of construction. One gets the feeling that they have been that way for some time and will remain so for some time to come. This house is not owned by MBH, but was renovated by them to its present state.
Remember, you can always click on the photos to enlarge.

This is the post-partum recovery room on the ground floor.  
Our drinking water. We have been without a car all week (one of those long, frustrating yet hilarious Haitian stories) so collecting new bottles involves a motorbike and good balance.
The swimming pool.
Don't ask.
But remember this for later.
Banana trees in the garden. Haitian bananas are quite delicious, even when they are in a state of what I would normally consider over-ripeness.

Bins of supplies, some of which were donated by you, my lovely readers.
Shelves filled with natural and pharmaceutical remedies.
A corner of the garden and the big old wall that separates us from the rest of the world. We have been outside a couple of times this week, but our experience has been mostly inside this compound.
We are surrounded by concrete. This wall around one of the upstairs patios cracks me up, because it looks like nicely turned wood. It is, in fact, concrete. We see the vertical supports for sale along the roads. They are sold in two sections and then cemented together on site.
Ah yes.
This is the room where we lie awake at night, listening to cows mooing, dogs barking, roosters crowing, and the frog in the pool bellowing.
I said bellowing.
I have named him "Satan" for good reason.
The sitting room, where we talk at night by the light of a flashlight or hit the computers every time the power comes on.
Like now.
It's 2:30 a.m. and I'm going to bed.
Lisa and I are heading to the Dominican Republic (henceforth refered to as "the DR") in the morning. Hopefully we can find wi-fi when we get to Santa Domingo and the story will continue.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Better late than dead on time

Almost a year ago I embarked on what was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime with my sister. We had planned a spectacular road trip, starting with family in Birmingham and continuing with a road trip to Scotland with our cousin Lynne and my childhood friend Janet. We had spent hours online together planning the details of the journey and were so excited for it. Unfortunately, Anne had a health crisis right before she was supposed to leave on the plane from New Zealand so she stayed home. It was shattering for both of us, but more so, obviously, for Anne. She hasn't been back to England since we left when she was eight, so it was deeply disappointing for her. 
I forged on, discouraged that I would now be making the trip (which had mostly been planned for Anne's benefit) without her. I was, of course, happy to be seeing family and Jan, but the absence of Anne's joy was a bitter pill to swallow.
I arrived at Birmingham Airport via Iceland. We usually fly to England with Iceland Air as they have the best prices and convenient airports. This time I bid on last-minute upgrades so Jeff and I both flew the longest legs First Class. Did I sprawl across the seat and take full advantage of all of the perks? You betcha I did! I even moved my carcass to where there were two empty seats next to each other so that I could sprawl across both of them! 
Lynne picked me up at the airport and spent the next few days spoiling me to death. We went walking several times along the lovely bucolic paths that wind through the area in which they live. We drove out to see the aunties because I couldn't wait until our planned lunch date on Monday to see them. Poor Aunty Marg had injured her hand very badly when her kitchen cupboard fell off the wall and it wasn't healing well. But she was still as ornery and lovely as ever. Uncle Fred had died since my last visit and he was sorely missed. Aunty Con was as chipper as ever and filled my head with stories of her life with Uncle Dick. I love these ladies so much. 

On Sunday Lynne and I went to church. I wrote about the service on facebook and I am going to just quote that, because I wrote it on the same day and I was so delighted by the whole thing that I can't improve on the sentiments:
Only my Mormon friends who know me well will appreciate how happy church attendance made me today. My cousin and I walked to church and it was a long enough walk that I knew I wouldn't be able to wear dress shoes, so I donned my trusty walking shoes and a pair of pants (because even I can't wear walking shoes with a dress) and off we went. I sat and enjoyed watching people file into this small chapel, listening to the Brummie accents and feeling quite at home. Then right before the meeting, one of the men on the stand asked if anyone played the organ or piano. I hesitantly raised my hand because, you know, wearing pants, but no one else seemed to care so up I went. So today I played the organ in church on Easter Sunday while wearing a pair of not very dressy pants. And several people came up to me afterwards and thanked me sincerely for playing, And no one mentioned the pants or even looked at them.
Then the first musical number was In the Garden, sung a cappella by a German mother and daughter. They sang the first verse in German and the mother cried. The second number was a duet sung by a young husband and wife, The Old Rugged Cross, accompanied by guitar. And no one raised an eyebrow. It was glorious. I sing these two hymns frequently with my Alzheimer's groups and it always elicits emotional connections for them, but I have never heard them in our church before. 
And last, but not least, my dear cousin sitting next to me.
Best Easter Sunday ever.

And that remains one of my best memories of my journey.

We met up with the aunties and cousin Mandy for lunch in a very noisy restaurant. It was deliciously uproarious. Here is Con, listening intently.

Margy and Pat.

Lynne had been unsure of whether or not she would be able to join Jan and me on the trip as well, as Richard had been very sick after their trip to Dubai, but he was recovering nicely so I was hopeful that she would change her mind. Then several other family members got sick and she decided she needed to stay and take care of them. I was disappointed again and feeling guilty for being completely selfish in worrying more about my own disappointment than everyone else. Guilt is not a pleasant companion. 
Jan was very brave and agreed to drive her car, as the original plan was for Lynne to drive Richard's car. She had little experience driving such long distances as those we had planned. Steve had done most of the driving, as husbands are wont to do. Steve had also passed since our last visit and was sadly missed. We left on Tuesday morning, April 18th, by way of the M6 north toll road. Jan decided toll roads are a good thing because there was much less traffic than the regular motorways. Less traffic is good. Our destination was the Lake Country and then on to Carlisle for the night. 
We stopped off at Ullswater Lake at Glenridding and did a smallish hike. Jan does a lot of tramping and is prone to leave me in the dust, hence the many photos of her back as she walks ahead of me. 
Ullswater Lake is the second largest lake in the Lake District. It's not very populated but is a popular destination for those with sailing boats and, of course, trekkers. We started at Glenridding, which suffered severe storm damage in 2015. The effects were still apparent in some places.

We begin our walk.

I rather loved these sheep.

I felt rather lucky to be here in the Lake District again. Life slows down here and everything is green and mossy.

There she goes.
And I am huffing and puffing in the rear.

And the view from the top was lovely.

And there were lambies.

After our wee walk we drove to Monkcastle for the night, where we had booked an airbnb flat. It was a grand country house on a farm of sorts and we think our flat was a converted stable. We had meant to stop and buy some meat for our dinner but hadn't passed any likely places, so were a bit puzzled about what we would eat for dinner. Luckily, the nice host offered us some fresh broccoli rabe from her garden, so we cooked it with some of my gluten-free pasta that I had brought along and enlivened it with butter from the fridge. It wasn't exactly gourmet fare but it tasted good to our hungry tongues.

The flat was adorable and we happily retired to our separate bedrooms after a walk around the property. I read for a while and noticed an intermittent beep from the hallway. Jan had removed her cochlear implant so was undisturbed. As I tried to fall asleep the beeping grew more insistent and it was clear that I was to get no sleep until I fixed the noise. I finally narrowed the beep down to a smoke alarm in the hallway, which was right over the stairwell. I tried calling the host, then knocking on their door (it was after midnight by then) and nothing was giving me joy. I attempted to stand on a chair and reach the alarm to take out the battery, but decided it wasn't worth risking my life. Jan was still sleeping and oblivious and I kind of hated her for it.

The next morning, after no sleep, we told the host of the problem and she was mortified. I was almost delirious from lack of sleep but the good thing is she refunded our money. It's just as well Jan was the driver, so we set off for Glasgow and the beginning of our Scotland adventure via Carlisle and Gretna Green.