Sunday, September 22, 2013

Happy Birthday Little Orphans!

Around 2 weeks old.
Sept. 23 my little orphan kittens turn one year old.   Last fall I tried to adopt their pregnant mom Dayo to defend us against the mice and rats in the guest house I was in.  She kept going back to her original home about 3 blocks away, which is the guest house I'm in this fall.  We gave up trying to get her to stay with us, and decided to adopt her kittens when they were weaned.  They were born Sept. 23, 2012. Unfortunately, Dayo died 2 weeks later, so I was the recipient of 3 orphaned kittens.

Some veterinary friends told me what to feed them, a mixture of an egg yolk, spoonful of oil, and milk, and one supplied a syringe to use as a bottle.  When the kittens got older we graduated to using a travel-sized contact lens solution bottle.  The vets said goat milk was the best kind to use.  Despite all the goats in Haiti, no one seems to use goat milk, so I used powdered cows milk.  

Sharky (?) and Mesay, about 1 month old.
And the kittens grew up strong!  Sharky was always the largest, Abu seemed to be a bit smaller than his sister Mesay, but was the first to catch a mouse!  And each developed a different pseudo-nursing habit from being weaned from their mom too early.  Abu sucked on shirts, Mesay on fingers, and Sharky on his right front leg (probably from spilling milk on it).

Mesay the calico girl came back to Kansas with me, via a Christmas stop in PA.  Sharky and Abu remained in the guest house.  Unfortunately Abu wandered off and I haven't seen him since I left in Dec.  I saw Sharky during my visit in May this year, still sucking on his leg which confirmed it was him and not Abu.  And he is with me here in the guest house where he was born, still sucking on his leg when he is happy.  Both Mesay and Sharky have an odd habit of sucking water from their bowl, after lapping some up first.  Mesay seems to have outgrown it, perhaps learning from my older cat Yoda.  But Sharky still turns his lapping into quite audible sucking.  I guess drinking is as much learned as instinct?

Mesay, Sharky sucking on leg, Abu, about 2 mon. old.
Mesay sucking on Colleen's fingers.

Mesay has to contend with THIS now!

Sharky learning to be an urban cat, almost 1 yr old.

Sharky, almost 1 yr old, still sucking on his leg.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

City vs. rural life in Haiti

The first four years that I came to Haiti I stayed in a tiny rural community in the Central Plateau, and that shaped my view of Haiti.  Electricity was solar that charged batteries for night use, so we were super careful about not using up the electricity.  Water was filtered through clay pots (which took a while so you had to be vigilant about keeping them full).  The couple I stayed with was still establishing their home and didn’t have many amenities.  Thus I thought that’s how missionaries live, without much stuff.  The closest real grocery store was 3 hrs away over super rough road (which has since been paved).  And no one ever asked me for anything, children never begged for money, men never asked for my phone number or to get them a visa for the US.

Now that I am in my second fall of living in a coastal city of about 80,000 in the city with lots more in the surrounding area, I am still surprised by how different it is.  An ATM!  Restaurants!  Grocery stores!  Loud music.  Trash burning right next door. :(  

Hence, my top 10 list of how city living has been different than country living in Haiti.

In the city:
1.      People sit around and watch TV – just like in the US!
2.      I can buy ginger ale and Gatorade!
3.      There are many restaurants, including Chinese and pizza.
4.      People are out socializing along the streets until very late at night.
5.      People play loud music until very late at night.
6.      Strangers (men) ask for my phone number, hand in marriage, and visas to the US.
7.      People have ‘foundations’ they want me to help with ($$).
8.      Children beg for money – ‘Gimme one dolla.’
9.      Men and women wear shorts (though shorts on women isn't as common and a bit riske).
10.  I can wear pants in public!  (Much easier for getting on and off motos)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Cooking tips

Mac & cheese made with Bongu cheese wedges.
I’ve been posting photos of my cooking creations on facebook, proud that I’ve been able to eeek out actual meals such as oatmeal and coffee for breakfast.  I don’t like to cook, and this is the first year I’ve had to make all my meals myself here in Haiti.  And I haven’t braved the outdoor market yet to buy veggies and fruit on my own.  Instead I pay the family below to buy them for me.  So managing to cook up some veggies and have them with ramen noodle soup seemed worthy of a facebook post.

My friend Juanita said I should put together a cook book.  Here is a cookbook published by a Haitian woman who lives just a mere 40 miles away from Juanita in Kansas City.  And this American couple has posted recipes.  So instead, here is a list of cooking tips for the inexperienced blan in Haiti.

An over abundance of fresh produce.
1.  After 5 days of not eating fruits and veggies go ahead and ask a Haitian to buy them for you.
2.  Then ask the person to not buy so many perishable fruits at once.
3.  Don’t try to eat all the fruit in a couple days just to keep it from going bad.
4.  Haitian matches burn rapidly – be quick with lighting the burners.
5.  Don’t forget to flip on the propane tank switch before lighting the match to light the burner.
6.  When asking for matches in the grocery store by trying to describe in broken Creole what they’re used for, don’t be surprised if the clerk instead gives you bacon.
7.  Set the legs of a table in bowls of water to keep ants off it, and store all your food there.
8.  Put unused avocado in the fridge rather than this table to keep your cat from getting it.
9.  Crack eggs into individual containers so you don’t get a bad one ruining the food you are preparing.
10.  When making hot chocolate, first dissolve the powdered milk in (safe) cold (= room temp) water rather than dumping it into the boiling water where it just clumps up. 
11.  Serious safety tip – rinse all dishes and fruits and veggies in chlorinated water.
12.  Then saute and boil the heck out of your veggies to make sure they're safe to eat.
Discovering why one ant-proofing water bowl kept drying up faster than the others.

Bongu powdered milk, Haitian Rebo coffee, oatmeal, and tropical almonds.
Ramen noodles in sauteed onion and green pepper, with boiled carrots and potatoes.