Expect the unexpected…

I didn’t know what to expect from Monday…other than feeling sad about leaving my girls back at their orphanage. I did expect to stay for a few hours and love on some of my favorite precious kids before my friend Audrey came to pick me up. But if you asked me Monday morning what this day would hold there is one thing that I never would have expected.
I expected to see this sweet face

and these

and schoolwork being done

and big chocolate eyes

and dimples and smiles that melt my heart.

(didn’t quite expect Esmée to jump in and do schoolwork right away, but I was proud she did)

I expected to have a lap full of kids

and to experience some stench at some point. This time there was a bad plumbing issue that had backed up outside. You can’t see the issue (which is a good thing for you…even better that you can’t smell it), but you can see the kids observing the oh so stinky process which took up a good chunk of time and made me thankful that I wasn’t expecting to eat lunch.

But then I did eat lunch. Because this sweet Nanny made a special lunch for me and my girls. And I ate it because I haven’t had any Haitian cuisine since arriving in Haiti and I love it…most of it. And I told her that I wasn’t expecting to eat lunch (but not eating it would have been a great offense) and that it was so nice that she set a special table for just the three of us (the girls normally do not get to eat upstairs, but Nanny knows that I would’ve given the girls my food).

And then…
Then out of gratitude and the simple desire to make myself useful I uttered these fateful words…

“Ou pa bezwen m’ ede ou? M’va ede ou.”

Translation: “Do you need help? I will help you.”

Here’s a free tip. If you are ever in Haiti and you think to yourself, “I want to make myself useful”.
Think again. Think very hard.

It was a very short while before I was summoned from the rooftop where I was enjoying the mountain views, breathing non-sewer smelling air, and practicing my Creole with two of my favorite boys.
I was told the help I had offered was being accepted and they were waiting for me.
I expected to change a diaper, or clean up poo, or clean a wound, or anything… but this.

I looked up at Nanny with a smile and she pointed down at this.
And at that moment the only help I wanted to give was to help this live chicken flee his predicament!

But I didn’t and he didn’t and I realized too late (for me and the chicken) that I didn’t really give stipulations to the kind of help I was capable of providing. And I didn’t think I was capable of this.

When I couldn’t save him, I prayed for a swift death. It didn’t come. He is still alive here.

And here. And he was flapping and kicking and blood went everywhere. And it got on me.

And then he was thrown in the pot with the lid on to bleed to death. Now finally deceased.

And my girls were laughing at me 

and showing me that they were not afraid of dead chicken.

Could this be the same little girl that tried on 5 different outfits and fussed over her hair this morning? 

And at this point I was feeling dreadfully stupid about the “cooking session” I had given Marguerite from a Betty Crocker bag of cookie mix where we simply had to add oil, egg, and water and which failed miserably anyways because I had no baking sheets and our oven didn’t work.

And since I was feeling stupid already…
There you see them. The hands that look like they have no business being anywhere near this picture.

And here you see my expression which says,
 I cannot believe I am doing this.
 I want to vomit now.
But I can’t because..

Jeff’s sweet eyes were watching me…

and Guerline always makes me laugh!

Sorry chicken. If your life was in my hands, I would not now be holding your head.  I have lived my life fighting the saying, “If you can’t beat em’, join em’.” But for today I lost that fight.

But I am thankful that the plucking part is over.

Until the cutting part began.

Seriously. What was I thinking with Betty Crocker cookie mix?

Well, the moral of this story is to always expect the unexpected in Haiti. And if you are ever in Haiti, never offer to help (without giving stipulations) unless you are ready to get your hands dirty. Very dirty.
And I would like to ask the question of someone who might know anything about profit margins concerning chickens (because I was thinking this question during the entire chicken killing and mutilation process)…how much money is actually saved by doing it this way vs. buying the end product at the store? I know it is fresher this way. But oh the trouble! Oh the yuck! I can’t see how any small difference in cost would be worth it (unless you actually like killing and mutilating…like my girls seem to). I mean, I know someone has to do it. And I do like eating chicken. And I had just eaten chicken cooked and served by the same Nanny that killed this one…which means she probably did the same to the one I ate. But it will forever bother me until I know what the profit margin is between doing it this way and the way I like to do it by buying it from the shelves of the supermarket….where it doesn’t squawk and flap and fling blood on me. Anyone want to answer that question?
Then I got another summons that Audrey had arrived to pick me up. I told Audrey what had happened to me and she asked why I “helped”? I said, “well I suppose it was bound to happen sooner or later in Haiti so I might as well get used to it. Audrey has lived in Haiti for a year. I have lived in Haiti for a week. She has never had this experience with a chicken. And she informed me way too late that I didn’t have to have this experience either. Let’s just say I will think hard…very hard before I say, 
“Ou pa bezwen m’ ede ou? M’va ede ou.” Ever again.

3 Replies to “Expect the unexpected…”

  1. Sharon Ogrin has done this before so if she’s reading this she’s probably busting at the seams. Now you can say been there done that! 😉

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