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Acclimation

June 16, 2011

How do I know I’ve gotten acclimated to Haiti? The temperature dropped to 77°F. (25°C.} overnight and Bryan and I were complaining about the cold. I find 90°F. (32°C.) very comfortable. Even 90% humidity is getting tolerable. Not pleasant, but tolerable. As I write this, the hygrometer is reading 91%.

I left a container about 4 inches deep outside yesterday and this morning noticed that it had overflowed from last evening’s rains. We had a sudden cloudburst at about 3PM that lasted about an hour, then the sun came out. At about 6:30 we had another downpour for about 45 minutes. Somewhere around 10PM it rained again. Yet this morning there are only a few small puddles, and the mud will be gone as soon as the sun has been out for a couple of hours.

I have also gotten to like the rhythm of life here – up at 4:30, at work at 5:30, the workday over at 2:00, although at times it runs much later for some of us. It is dark by 6:30. What still seems odd to me is the timing of dinner guests. Guests often arrive at 3 or 4, visit before supper, and leave shortly after, almost certainly by 8. Since I was a child I have resisted ending my days, there always being something too absorbing to put down, someone too engaging to part company with, but I have noticed as the weeks pass my bedtime comes progressively earlier. Life is simpler here – not easier, but simpler – and that makes for easy sleep. The slower pace and lack of things makes much more room for people. There always seems to be time to stop and talk, to visit.

Another aspect of life here that suits me well is the prevalent optimism. From what I see, most Haitians focus on what they have rather than what they do not. They hope for and expect a better future, but are for the most part accepting of their circumstances. Their glass is half full. It’s starting to look a lot fuller than that to me.

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