By Peter Davis
The daily schedule changes, miscommunication, and uncertainites involved with working in Haiti can always surprise you regardless of how much time spent in Haiti. Back in the States our schedules are planned out to a tee whether we be university student or professor. We aren’t even able to rely on our old ally, the clock, here. Dailylight savings didn’t occur here in Haiti this year, so while our all-knowing smartphones say its 7:17 PM in Mirebelais, in reality its 6:17.
All this to say the constant of every day and week is the afternoon rain. More reliable than our expectations and technology, every afternoon between 3-5 PM the skies darken and thunder crackles in the distance. The rain divides the day in an unfamiliar way. Usually we have fourteen or so hours to cram as much busyness as possible whether it be productive or not. Out here, regardless of the plan we make the days before, every day has the ability to go one of many different paths depending on the vagaries of Haitian time.
Except for the afternoon rain. The rain is steady and predictable. At some points you can mark 5:00 to the exact minute based on the initial peals of thunder. And regardless of the unperdicatability of the day’s work, the rain is a comforting presence each day. In some ways rain signals the end of the day more than the gradual fading of light from the land. With rain comes an understanding that goes beyond the language barrier and the cultural expectations for a day. Rain means the acidic clench in your stomach as you hurry to finish up your days work or hurry to get off the mountain trails. Rain provides a common spectacle for blans and Haitians alike as everyone gathers around the porchs of the village schools where we spend the night. Rain means impromptu showers from gutter run-off. Rain means the downpour on the tin roof as you go to bed each night thinking of the next day and its often unpredicatable events.