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Haitian Dawn Rituals

October 19, 2011

My eyes open to inky blackness.  The local curs have heard something that has caused them to go ballistic.  And the roosters have decided to greet God as He begins to laboriously push His light over the unseen horizon.

My rumpled bed is dank with sweat.  The burn on my calf is prickling.  Why is that the more it heals the more it afflicts me?  I didn’t even notice it when it was fresh.  I am itching in several places from new mosquito bites.  My mosquito tent helps, but should I move so that any part of my body touches it, those tiny vampires are lying in wait to attack me through the mesh.  Fortunately my body is adapting and the effects of their bites are ephemeral.

I clamp my eyes shut in a futile effort to regain sleep, knowing full well that I have lost that battle.  Finally I surrender to reality and grope around for my flashlight.   Thankfully I put it in its assigned place last night.  Switching on its anemic beam, I instantly make a mental note to find some new batteries before the ones I am using expire completely.  Seems the mental notes I made over the last several days got lost in the shuffle.  I head for the bathroom.

Returning to my room I remember I cannot light my oil lamp; I am out of white gas.  I switch on my laptop, one of the few refuges available to me at this indecent hour.  It announces its resurrection with a hallelujah chord.  Its clock reads not quite 5AM.  Not bad, all considered; I often have much earlier starts.  I check my emails and answer the one from Anne who takes care of my business back in Canada, thinking what a blessing she is to me.  I read a couple of others that need no reply.  With pangs of disappointment I see there is no reply to some of the emails I have sent out over the last few days.  I have to remind myself again that expectations always set me up for disappointment.  Best not to have them.  People are busy.  I am not the center of their worlds.

Incessant rapid dripping from the roof, a vestige of last night’s rain, intrudes upon my solitude.  The heavy drops explode on the tile of the sunken courtyard outside my window.  I am thankful that I have the ability to shut such things out.  I open Kindle and find the book I am reading, G.K. Chesterton’s The Ball and the Cross.  I am down to the last couple of chapters.  As I read, the neighbourhood begins to come alive.  There are few secrets where there is no glass in the windows.

I go through a mental checklist for my day.  I need to scan some documents to email back to Canada to wrap up a business matter.  Mr. Ritchie, one of the teachers, has agreed to negotiate a better price on a battery charger I found in the market.   I know he will do much better than I ever could; my white skin always precludes my getting the best deal.   I need to go to the bank, as my wallet is getting a little too thin.  I will ask around to find out if anyone knows where I can find some scrubs in the city.  Barring that, I need to look for a long-sleeved shirt to be appropriately dressed for my new job on Monday.  I hope I can find scrubs, as they will be much cooler.  I cook tonight, so I will try to come up with something a little different when I do my marketing, always a challenge here.  I should do some laundry, but it can wait.  I need to phone Dr. Kerry to arrange for a new supply of eye drops.   Oh yes!  Flashlight batteries!  And lamp oil!  I still haven’t called Al to get hold of the guy who will weld up the frame for my solar panel.  Then there are all the other things that are pending.  When I came to Haiti I thought life would move a little more slowly.  Another unrealistic expectation.  I have seen so many others whose life shifted up a few gears when they retired.  Why should mine be different?  God’s not done with me yet.

I wonder how much I will actually accomplish today.  The short days and evenings without power force me to compress my activities.  There really is no evening here.  The night swallows the day like a hungry snake.

The sliver of sky visible through the trees above the courtyard wall continues to intensify.  It is time to put on the kettle for tea and brace myself for the cold sting of the shower.  If water comes out of the faucet when I turn the tap that is.  I have set aside a 5-gallon bucket of water for that contingency.  Electricity would be too much to hope for.  My day is about to begin in earnest.

Thank you God for another day to serve you.  Help me remember that whatever I accomplish will be enough.  You will cover any shortfall.

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