Archive for November, 2013

Disclaimer: This post is somewhat gross

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Yesterday I started feeling not so good.  Then in the afternoon I started felling even worse.  At one point I hit the end of myself and laid down on the concrete floor of the bakery, feeling terrible.  It was around this time I started puking voluminously. 

That wasn’t too fun, and made for a long evening/night of many additional episodes of the same fun-filled event.  Guess I had food poisoning of some nature, from what I don’t know.  Today I feel better, though the idea of eating still sounds gross.  Perhaps my appetite will return tomorrow.

Yesterday night I had a lot of time to lay in my bed and reflect throughout the long hours of these annoying proceedings. 

I haven’t written much on my blog lately because I only write when hit with inspiration.  And last night I was hit with inspiration.

First, I observed that when one is vomiting, it feels as if one is about to die.  You can’t  breathe, you can’t stop, it’s like having your head dunked underwater by someone stronger than you.  And the scary part is, you can’t control it! the body just takes over and upchucks up whether you want it to or not.  It reminded me how I live in a very frail, mortal body, that has a mind of its own.  This body was given to me for free.  It does it’s job, most of the time, but it is just a machine that’s wearing out, and isn’t really a representation of me.  ME is not a body.  Me is who I am.  My body carries me around, but Me is a spirit.

Second, we experience life in the present, and past experiences have no direct effect on that.  Just because I had the most amazing hamburger on planet earth from 5 Guys & Fries directly before coming to Haiti; that didn’t help me at all last night when the very thought of food was enough to make me want to die.  Yes, it made me think of how at some point in the future my body will experience the very process of death in the present as well.  Kind of an eerie thought.  But the important lesson is: live in the present.  And savor the present when it is sweet.  Because no doubt bitter is coming 😉

For proof that how we feel can change moment by moment, here is a picture of me last night – when I was not feeling so well:

Not Feeling Too Well

And here is a picture of me only two days prior, happy go lucky!

Nick Happy go Lucky

Third, I was so thirsty it hurt.  My mouth was dry.  My mind was screaming for water.  My eyes were rolling back in their sockets (I think).  Unfortunately, any water I drank came right back up.  At first I tried drinking as much as I wanted to stop the thirst but that came right back up.  Then I limited it to a few sips.  That came right back up too.  I found that even if I only swallowed a little spit spit, that also came right back up.  My stomach wanted nothing inside of it; it wanted alone time to think; it wanted its own company for meditation, perhaps.  Alas, I finally resigned myself to the fact that Nick and his stomach were no longer pals, and I could drink no more water, and would have to live a new life of parched lips and sizzled brain.  I then did the next best thing, which was to swish water in my mouth but not swallow.  Funny thing was, this didn’t satisfy my thirst.  I really wanted to swallow it.  But I couldn’t.  Not without swift and dire repercussions.

This got me thinking about the story in the Bible about a rich man in hell who wanted just a sip of water on his tongue for a little relief from the heat of Hades, but didn’t receive even that.  And this led me to thinking how badly I never want to go to hell where there is no water, and where it is confoundedly thirsty, and where it is no doubt almost as miserable as food poisoning.  God and I had a little talk last night.  I also did some hard thinking on why I was living in Haiti. The con list had suddenly become weightier. 

My “Next-to-Last” Concluding Remarks:

Being sick every now and again makes me thankful for my health.  This Thanksgiving, I’m perhaps most thankful for health.  It’s a great blessing.  Even though we all eventually do lose our health and at some point die, it is reassuring to know as Christians we have hope for new health in heaven, and of a fairer variety than we ever had down here.

Final Point:

We each need to make sure we’re on the narrow path that leads to life, and not on the broad road that leads to worse things.

Ending words:

Thus concludes my cheery thoughts for today.  Selah.

Hitting the Ground Stumbling

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

After a very tiring trip, which may or may not have involved getting little sleep in Ft. Lauderdale, I arrived back in good ol’ Haiti.

Honestly, the transition back here was less shocking than my transition back to the States several months ago.  I think that’s because I have so much to DO here.  Surviving, fixing problems, diving into my new job.

Arrived on Monday afternoon and was at work in the bakery 6am Tuesday. 

Besides work, this week has also been spent trying to get settled into my new small studio apartment. 

Wednesday afternoon I went on a massive shopping spree picking up everything needed for outfitting a modest bachelor pad: dishes, silverware, sheets, a pillow, a pot, a skillet, Mac & Cheese, Ramen Noodles, cleaning supplies, a trash can, a laundry hamper, a towel, coffee mugs, etc, etc, etc. 

Electricity from city power is only on several hours a day, but fortunately I have a set of 4 batteries that charge whenever city power IS on.  Then when city power turns off, my apartment runs off the batteries through a large inverter.  Getting that all setup was a shocking experience.  Besides  those few zaps, I also accidentally shorted out the battery bank for a second (which made lot of sparks and melted one battery lead).  But alls well now, and everything works.

In fact, I also mounted a 12V cigarette lighter to the wall for running things like a small fan and my cell phone charger.  Running applications straight off the batteries is more efficient than running them through the inverter.  You can see my inverter/battery charger in the picture below: The big white box.  Josh and I mounted it to the wall and it was VERY Heavy.

IMAG0936-1

Speaking of electricity, I’m also cracking down on the electric problem on my motorbike.  The battery isn’t charging properly.  I have tried paying someone else to fix it, to no avail, so now I’m attempting to troubleshoot/fix it myself.  So far unsuccessfully.  Me and electricity aren’t the best of friends.

But me and propane are even less friendly, it appears.  As a result, tonight supper was trail mix.  Hopefully I’ll have the stove up and going tomorrow, so we can be up to Ramen Noodle status!

Last night I did go out to eat with some friends.  As luck would have it, there were no tap-taps on a certain section of road.  Therefore, I walked that stretch (about half a mile), which was no big deal, except it decided to rain right then, so I got soaked.  While walking through said rain, I was reminded of all the other many times in my life I’ve been outside walking and got rained on.  Seems to happen fairly frequently.

Working closely with Haitians in the bakery can at times be a tiny infuriating because the way they do things is different than how I might sometimes do them.  In some cases I find there is a closed attitude towards doing things differently?  In fact, several suggestions I’ve proposed (which I thought were good) were met with laughter and incredulity!  However, I still implemented them, regardless of the lack of popularity.  Call me George Bush.

Yeah, prevailing attitudes here can be difficult to change.  Customer service, for instance.  There is the Haitian way, which is not the American way.  Coaching the cash register today, at several points I got animated:

Customer: I want (a bunch of bread)
Register: We don’t have that.
Me to Register: Why did we just tell him we don’t have that?
Register: Because the kind of bread he asked for is not yet ready and won’t be for another hour.
Me: Then we need to tell him that it will be ready in an hour Or, give options of other bread he CAN buy right now.  Our answer to customers is never, “No.” Our answer is always, “Yes!” 

Another person came up to the window and handed over several small bills.  Without saying anything our register person took the bills and punched in an order.

Me to Register: How did you know what she wanted?
Register: Well, she didn’t say, so I chose for her.  If they don’t say, I get to choose.

Ahh, I see!

Obviously, there is some training required.  I need YouTube videos of QuickTrip training.  They’ve got the corner on customer service.

Anywho, I’m having fun, and things are going well overall.

More another time.

Link to Heartline Bakery