Monday and Tuesday morning our day began by loading into a vehicle and making the 45 minute commute down to PAP. The purpose of this journey was to receive our photo i.d. cards and our drivers license. We had a driver from the mission take us down. We also picked up a lady who works in the government office who is neighbors with a man who works with the mission (it's great to have friends!) The four of us made the commute to PAP, after picking up a friend of her's who needed to go to PAP and knew we would be driving through.
This is a picture I found on google but it is a CLEAR image of travel in Haiti. All the people piled into the Tap Tap (Haitian taxi)
The vehicle stopped and we heard "Ann ale!" (Let's go) I couldn't help but look around and wonder where they were wanting us to go. We were in the middle of the street with cars and people all over the place. So I said, "Nou bezween ale?" (We need to go?) The response..."Wi wi, ale!" (Yes, yes, go.) Out we jumped. We were quickly ushered through a gated area that opened up to a courtyard filled with people.
There were different lines leading to different buildings, each person holding some form of paperwork in need of being processed. We were led past all the lines and up a set of stairs. At the top of the stairs we were taken to a room where we sat, and sat, and sat some more.
People came in and out regularly and conversation was constant! In this 10x10 room we counted 16 people, 3 desks, and lots of compact mirrors with makeup! We definitely stood out as the "blancs" who were there. We enjoyed adding our own dialogue to what we thought all the activity was that was going on around us. Anything to pass the time, right?
After being in the tiny room for almost an hour on Monday morning the lady who was helping us came in and said, "Nou gen gwo pwoblem" (We have a big problem.) We asked what it was and the Creole words began to flow. I tried to figure it all out in my head, as best as I could, and the next thing I knew we had agreed to return again tomorrow in hopes that the problem would be fixed.
Same scenario this morning in the drive, the drop off, and the sit and wait for two hours. Only today in the process of sitting in the room another "blanc" was brought in to sit and wait! We had a friend. Our friend was from VIETNAM! Trey and I have traveled to Vietnam three times. We were able to talk with him about the places we have seen and how much we enjoyed his country. SMALL WORLD! I would not be surprised if our other company in the 10x10 room were adding their own dialogue to our conversation today :)
After getting our pictures taken, which by the way you can't smile, I had SEVERAL people laugh at me today as I sat in the chair for my photo and pasted on the cheesy white girl grin. The lady behind the camera looked at me like I was crazy and said, "Pa souri." (Don't smile.) After this and distracted by the laughter I turned and caught Trey out of the corner of my eye and FLASH! The picture was taken and I was not looking. The laughter from SEVERAL onlookers began again. Bleh, I was so ready to be finished with my time in front of the camera.
After our photo opp we were ready to return to the mission. We still have a few more logistics to work out in order to receive our i.d.'s, but the PAP runs should be close to finished. This small town girl is stretched quite a bit in city life, especially city life that doesn't share the same language.
We are so thankful for the friends we have already made, who we can trust to help us in the confusing moments. Those involved in our PAP trips were amazing. We could NOT have been able to do it without them. In the midst of this thankfulness, I'm also thankful at the thought of spending tomorrow in the mountains.