Monday, July 2, 2012

Beach Day!


After I figured out that that insidious noise was the alarm I had set on my phone for 2am, i headed out to the courtyard to Skype with Sarah. Wedley was fast asleep still. Skype worked surprisingly well and we video chatted for an hour and a half. Right as we were saying good byes I heard a kid crying (it’s pretty common around here), but the direction made me worry it might be Wedley - I quickly said good bye and ran to the room - sure enough the door was open and Wedley was sprawled across the bed in a different direction awake and sobbing a little - mostly it seemed to have subsided before I got there. Disaster sort of avoided, except that it was 3:30am and I don't think that Wedley slept the rest of the night - every time I woke up he was still awake. I got up around 6:45 finally - he stayed quietly in the bed until then even so, but the worry was what the day would look like with getting up so early - at least he had already gotten close to 8 hours.

After getting up I snagged a quick shower, and we started working to get ready to go to the beach. Can't find Wedley's new Croc's - not sure what became of those - thankfully we have his old ones still. Because we were leaving before breakfast, we had corn flakes. Things are definitely on edge a bit as we figure each other out. Strangely even with his love for food when I offered the Corn flakes - he didn't want them. However - then a couple minutes later he was more than eager - ate heartily Wedley style. I had them as well - even with powdered milk, actually were pretty good. We packed our swim diapers, regular diapers, towel, cameras, snacks, and of course our water bottles for the beach.

We headed out at 8am with 3 gals who were flying out that morning. Wedley and I and Julisa (same one who had met me at the airport) rode in the back and everyone else in the front of the Toyota. After we dropped them off, we moved to the cab (Wedley & I, Nikki, Eventz, Josiah, Chante, Carla, and Reekins our driver) and started to head across Cap toward the beach. We stopped at a bakery right off the waterfront and grabbed some pastries and a few pieces of pizza for lunch. The raisin filled cinnamon roll like thing that Wedley and I shared was very good. Back in the truck and through town. So many "Daddy, Tap Tap (their tax/bus trucks)", "Daddy dump truck", "Daddy, look! Car!" - over and over, though I enjoyed every bit of it. Town was a zoo - at one point one back street we were on went through a market - so they were having to move their items out of the way so we could get through.

The route was across town and then over the mountain to the other side - all again rough, bumpy, rock road. Lots of cool sites - seeing more of the area and various things going on. The hills/mountains were again gorgeous at times - super lush palms and other trees. Scenes of men moving dirt, people taking baths at the watering hole, selling stuff along the road, hauling materials etc. As we got toward the other side it got rougher and less occupied, though closer to the water front we passed some nicer houses / compounds. Eventually we arrived at the backside of what is a Cruise Ship stop. The backside is a large fence with barb wire, dirty buildings, some larger buildings to support the needs and workings of the "resort" stop. Interesting part was the comparison of the backside more Haiti like facility vs the Cruise travelers that used the front facing facilities which looked to include a huge Zip line, water slides, lots of water toy structures for swimmers to play off, huts on the beaches, rows of Jet skis, restaurants etc (and lots more I'm sure). Full-fledged resort stop on the backside of poor Haiti - people stopping there get to see a little of the land of Haiti, but obviously not the real Haiti, some talk that they might not even know where it is that they are stopping except an "Island in the Caribbean".

Our hope was realized when we saw that there was no Cruise ship in today. This was because the beach that we wanted to take a water taxi to is also used as an "excursion" for the cruisers, so we'd have to fight the crowds. Nikki negotiated a water taxi (boat with a small outboard and a roof over it to block the sun) for $22 and we hopped in. Inexpensive, relatively for all of us, but not super speedy (so there was more water/boat time we got to enjoy!) - probably took 30min or 40 maybe to get to the beach we were aiming for. Without the Cruise ship we were the only users of the beach for most of the day, there was later another couple and a family that arrived. We found some nice shade and spread our belongings. Water was gorgeous. One advantage of this beach is that it is great for the kids because it is super shallow for a long time, with just a slight slope. Water was very nice - still had warm and cooler spots but they were all nice. After we lotion’ d up, we headed out. Wedley was very cautious and nervous with the water. Took some coaxing to go out and most of the time (even later in the day) I spent most of my time with him sitting on my lap or holding him. When the girls called for him he would venture out on his own to head over to them. We did have one stretch where he would go to them and get sand from them and bring it back to me and put it in my hands (another form of filling the dump truck, moving sand).

Wedley and I did head in after a while and dried off, got some Jerky and played with the sand toys (bucket, rakes etc). Then everyone came in and we had some lunch and "some snack" as Wedley would say (Jerky). Ate our Pizza and Wedley and I shared a granola bar and then lathered another layer of lotion. Played in the sand some more and then went out in the water again. Couldn't get Wedley to walk by himself at all - in fact didn't want to come out at first at all until I carried him. The 4 of us and 3 kids hung out in 4' water for quite a while talking, playing with the kids, listening to Wedley tell us that there are boats and a beach there, and soaking in the wonderful water and sun. Eventually we started feeling prunish and possibly burnt (even with multiple coats of sunscreen for me?). We'll see.

So we headed back in and packed up. Eventz had fallen asleep in Nikki's arms in the water - he had been running around crazy in the water most of the day, much more adventurous then Wedley (or could be labeled fearless)! We changed the kids and packed up and loaded the boat for the ride back. Wedley mostly fell asleep on the way back, but awoke again when we arrived. Also on the way back in the truck he was in and out. Had some nice views of Cap Haitien as we came back into town.

We stopped at the closest thing there is to a "normal" small grocery store and Nikki picked up some more food for the 4th party and everyone got Icecream. Was a good thing, because the store was torturous for Wedley - he was certain he needed a snack and was becoming unwieldy. He gets worked up quickly around this topic and gets a bit frantic. But the ice cream was good and stemmed the eruption easily - we ate as we worked our way across town. Sat in some long lines for a stop light and then hit 3 police checkpoints - all three gave us minor issues. First made Reekins find all the insurance and registration paperwork and his license as well as the license plate which he retrieved from under the seat (couldn't find it at first). The 2nd, Reekins didn't realize was a stop and started to head around (thinking the Tap Taps were just stopping to pick up / let off etc). The officer made us turn around go the other way and then come through (even though we had only gone ahead of 1 car). Another stop just before leaving the pavement for COTP - this guy wanted to see our passports. They told him we didn't have them and were headed to the orphanage. He asked about the kids we had in the car - maybe making sure we were kidnapping or something? Anyway - he let us threw.

Small funny thing - we were coming up behind a lady with a big bag of something balanced on her head walking down the dirt road (typical). Though right in front of us, she appeared to nearly roll her ankle and dropped the bag in the ditch and kind of fell over. Unlucky for her we happened to be right there to see it happen, lucky for her - she was a COTP employee and we gave her a lift saving her another 15 minutes of walking.

After we got back, I realized that I did get cooked pretty good. Not streaky so I didn't have issues putting on the lotion, but just still got too much sun (or it washed off). It’s not horrible, but not great. Thankfully there is some aloe in my room. Next up Wedley wanted to read so we read under the big Mango tree - 4 books, through some distraction of everything else going on around.

So - pushing 6pm it was time for dinner. There wasn't anything for the volunteers yet so Wedley and I grabbed a bowl of the rice porridge or whatever it is (looks a little like a mix between pudding and cream of wheat and tends to crust over. Not super appetizing. I guess I should try it. He was all over it though and frantically put it down. After dinner we moved into our bedroom and played with a small medicine ball for a bit. Wedley (on his own) started bouncing it like a basketball. I was surprised at this, he was actually not too bad at it. We also did some soccer. Like last night, after dinner, Wedley seemed to get into a very upbeat and good mood (not that he's often in a bad mood) - but extra exuberant where often he is a little reserved - so that was fun. I gave him one of the toys that we brought for the ride home - thought it would be ok to start introducing them to him so he was familiar before the trip. This one was a drawing kit comprised of a pad of large post it notes and set of crayons. So we drew together for a while. It was a mix of Wedley scribbling and him asking me to draw things which he would then guess (kind of like when we read).

After the drawing I said it was shower time - though earlier he had shown again strong resistance to the idea, at this point he didn't refuse and we had a successful shower time which was desperately needed due to our day in the salt water. After shower time (we have a private bathroom) we went back into room and drew a little more, then read our now 4 books (picture book, Elmo, Pooh, and Bible). He wanted to read the Bible first, though it’s a challenge to hold his attention on it at this point. Throughout the reading we were distracted some because it seemed a storm was picking up - windy more and more and Wedley kept looking outside and asking if it was raining. At first it wasn't, but eventually the rain really hit. The generator again didn't come on again automatically so all the power cut out in the middle of reading. We used the headlamp to do some reading till it came back on - challenge was that Wedley insisted on holding it, but struggled a little to point it at the book - at first liked to point it at his eyes. But power came on shortly after the generator was cranked up and we continued.

Wedley did great tonight with the singing (ABC's) really got into it and wanted to do it again after the normal 2 times. However, after that I turned off the light and was going to do prayer. He cried for a couple minutes and then wouldn't pray with me. So I turned them back on and he automatically prayed - I guess they have typically prayed in the light and then turned it off. After turning it off I laid by Wedley and sang Amazing Grace multiple times, he laid down. Eventually I again transitioned from Amazing Grace to David Crowder playing on the laptop while I started working on the blog. I think he took 15minutes to fall asleep tonight. So overall a good night.

I snuck out and grabbed some Haitian Stew - wasn't my favorite, so now I'm washing it down with a coke and one of my melted Sweet and Salty bars that I froze in the freezer. Much better. It’s still raining and I think I'm going to hit the hay shortly - tired, drained, and burnt. And the weather is awesome - so much cooler, prime night for some great sleep.

Tomorrow is a laid back day I think, except that Nick arrives - so that will be nice for all. Good for Eventz, though doing good, is a little confused because he's only ever known of 1 daddy (for really anyone) - so having me around and now Wedley calling me Daddy is a little confusing for him. Though he's done a pretty good job of calling me "Dan" (vs. Daddy).

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