Monday, 15 April 2013

Introduction to Anipiye!

It's always great to have people who are willing to sacrifice their time and come serve at Hope House.  Today's post is from Katheryn Meyer an American girl who spent several months with us...

These were my first impressions of Haiti when I arrived there for the first time on March 20, 2012.  My host American family were not able to fly in with me as originally planned, because their connecting flight was cancelled  due to bad weather.  There was only one small problem with that; I didn’t have a street address to put on my customs form.  The customs officer was very displeased with this!  “Madam, is very important to have address before entering the country.  Go to immigration and they help you get the address.”  He waved me over to the immigration office with my carry-ons.  (I still had not collected my baggage at this point.)  
I went over there and sat down inside with my big floppy white hat, to wait until someone could help me.  There were several of us sitting there.  I had Yvrose’s number as well as a few other people’s so I knew I could get the address.  Shortly afterwards the lady at the desk called me over and I explained my dilemma.  But it wasn’t too long before someone came in to get me and bring me to Yvrose.  He had a blue security shirt and looked like an officer.  Anybody will tell you that your party sent them to meet you, because they want money, but somehow I knew this fellow was telling the truth.  I had to leave my passport and carry-ons in the immigration office to go with him.  (I should have grabbed my backpack at least on the way out - future travelers, take note!)

So, Mr. Security Guy grabs my arm and takes me through the mob to the end of a long white tent archway to where Yvrose was waiting!  Thank goodness for my floppy white hat.  I had told Bill and Janet Montgomery I would be wearing it and they told Yvrose, and that’s what she told Mr. Security Guy to look for!

Yvrose hugged me and greeted me and came back to the immigration office, writing somebody’s address on my form as we walked.  (I still have no idea what address it was.)  Mrs. Immigration Lady stamped my passport and I grabbed my carry-ons—minus $40, as I found out a few minutes later, in the truck when I checked everything.  Yvrose said the immigration lady looked very uncomfortable when we returned to the office with the address.

Yvrose helped me look through the piles of luggage for my suitcase and duffel bag.  Then back we went through the mob to where Yvrose’s husband Pierre Richard and Mr. Security Guy were waiting.  (Mr. Security Guy is a Pastor in Cite Soleil and he also works at the airport.)

The truck needed to be push-started as usual, then we were on our way.  Traffic through Port-au-Prince was horrendous.  “It usually takes forty-five minutes to get to Fonds-Parisien,” said Yvrose, shaking her head at the unusually slow-moving traffic.

“If we were in the Sates I would say it was rush hour.  Do they have rush hour here?” I asked.  That made her laugh and she agreed that rush hour must not have national boundaries!

At this point I was able to call Daddy and Mama on Yvrose’s phone and let them know I made it.

Through Croix des Bouquets and beyond, then Fonds-Parisien and Bill and Janet’s leased home overlooking Lac Azuei!  (Lake Azuei)  Their three Haitian daughters were home—Shirlie, Nono and Christela.  Shirlie and Nono were 34 and 33 respectively.  Christela was 15 and in school.  She likes Justin Beiber like a regular teen and she doesn’t communicate much, but she works hard like the others.
Yvrose gave me the key to the storage room, which is also the guest room and has a bathroom.  She informed me to keep it locked at all times.  The girls had a key to clean it and I had the other one and those were all the keys.  After saying goodnight, Yvrose and Pierre Richard left.  The girls hooked me up with a regular American mattress on the front porch under a mosquito net.

The offending Anipiye
My sleep that night was fitful, as I kept feeling like something was in bed with me.  But if I moved, everything became still and quiet, so I didn't pay it much attention.  But at about 1:30 in the morning something was slithering in my bed, and no mistake about it!  I leaped to the other end of the bed and stared at my pillow.  The thing was coming out from under it by about five inches.  “Snake!  Girls, girls, there is a snake in my bed!”  After doing her share of squealing (“Eeee!  I’m very scared.  Eeee!”) Nono hooked me up with an enclosed mosquito net camping bed.  Shirlie took care of my little friend; they called it an anipiye or a milpat, which is an overgrown (way overgrown) centipede.  It was about six inches long.  That should be illegal...  I took a photo the next morning.
My bed, after the incident!

A few weeks later I came across another giant centipede in the guest bathroom.  “They like you,” said Nono.  The girls killed that one too, with copious amounts of bug spray.  Enclosed mosquito net camping beds are my new best friend!

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