The last few days have been incredibly eventful. As per usual, we went to Bois Jolie to continue our study on Friday and spent that night at the local school. If I thought we were working efficiently last week, this week’s operation blew that out of the water. We all (Sewanee and CFFL students) went to three different farms to conduct our biodiversity and photosynthesis studies. The Li-Core, our photosynthesis-measuring machine, had a technical problem, but Ben and Peter managed to solve the issue and continue work, much to my amazement. It’s a complicated piece of equipment with hoses and tubes and wacky metal legs that make it look like an alien device, so I was incredibly impressed they addressed and solved the problem relatively quickly.
We performed our biodiversity study in extremely good time, setting traps and bait and collecting samples in just over an hour for each farm, despite having a few field-work-typical hiccups ourselves. After a long day and relaxing night back at the school, we set out the next day to collect the traps. After a very heavy rain the night before, we were nervous about our traps getting washed out and losing samples, but luckily we were still able to collect the majority of our traps and get good clean samples with little trouble.
Full of adrenaline from a successful two-days’ worth of work, we all bounced down the mountain looking forward to our next excursion to Port-au-Prince. After a quick bite to eat and much needed showers, we were on our way. We got to see more of the city than we did during our last trip two weeks ago, and went to hear some live Haitian jazz music. Much to my excitement, the next day, we took a trip to the most fantastic beach and resort I’ve ever been to, called Wahoo Bay.It was a blissful day of swimming in the turquoise Caribbean, drinking Cokes over ice, and sipping fresh milk right from coconuts. We headed back to Cange today, but not before stopping off at the Kwade Buke metal market to barter and buy gifts for all our loved ones back home.
During this trip, we’ve made it a point to balance hard work and exploration around the country, which I think is an essential part of this experience. The juxtaposition of poor rural farming villages and the swanky life of Port-au-Prince and the coastal region is truly eye-opening. A relatively short drive lands you right in the middle of a massive city, filled with both the extremely poor and extremely wealthy. While I very much enjoyed the time we spent here last summer, I feel like this time around we are all getting a more well-rounded experience, seeing the other faces of Haiti.