We returned from our second overnight excursion to Bois Jolie yesterday, which went much better than the previous week’s work. Our first run last week didn’t go badly, but field work always needs tweaking. A clean-cut methodology written in advance rarely works out the way you expect. With a few modifications to our methods, mainly eliminating baits (meat, tuna, peanut butter, lots of yummy snacks for all the animals in the village) from our traps, we were good to go. Oh, the joys of field work…
Our collaboration with the CFFL students has improved as we’ve learned each other’s languages more and gotten to know each other better. As soon as we got to the farms, we got to it, divvying out work, making transects and digging in traps like clockwork. We collected clean samples, and lots of them.
After a long, successful day of hiking and work, we got back to the school we were sleeping in. We had a bit of time to kill, and Peter, the brilliant person that he is, brought a deck of cards. We decided Go Fish would be a good, simple game choice that would help us learn our numbers in Creole. Teaching them was a bit confusing at first, because of the language barrier and because we realized we didn’t actually know all the rules as neither Peter and I had played in over ten years or so. So we made up the rules to the best of our ability and began. We had no idea what a hit the simple game would be.
There was lots of yelling and laughing as we heatedly played for about three hours into the night. It was a fantastic feeling, crossing the language barrier (which is my biggest personal challenge being here – I would love to talk to everybody I meet, but I just don’t have the ability just yet) and playing a game none of us really knew how to play, and yet having probably the most fun I’ve had playing cards with people. We stress the importance of building relationships with the farmers we work with, but that’s proved to be challenging since I don’t speak the language fluently. This was the first time I’ve really felt connected with our Haitian colleagues, and I believe they felt the same. I can’t wait to return, perhaps with a new card game to play this time around.