In an attempt to somewhat keep in shape for cross country season in the fall, I have ventured out to do a little running on the street near our house. The first thing to note when thinking about an American girl running on the Central Plateau is that this is not a tourist area, so it’s already odd for Haitians to see white people riding around in vans in this area. Further, I have never seen a Haitian out for a run simply to exercise–a lot of the work the Haitians we partner with is exercise enough. So, to see a white person running for exercise on street in the Central Plateau is probably pretty shocking to the Haitians in this area.
These small adventures of mine have given me a unique experience and interaction with people in our surrounding community. Running with headphones in (yes, Mom, I am being careful) allows me to pretend that I cannot hear the calls of the people I am running past. In this part of the country, there are no sidewalks so people walk right on the road with no shoulder for distancing oneself from the hectic roads. People have all sorts of tactics to get my attention while I’m running, including speeding motos coming within two feet of me as I jog along the side of the road. I am able to ignore most of the honks, shouts, and stares–someone even took a video of me once–but it is only the kids I pay attention to. They stand on their fence, peering over at me or skip around their yard imitating my exercise, cheering. Ale, ale, ale! Go, go, go!