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  • Quiara

The Barfing Toilet: Our Own Minor Version of Jonah and the Whale

Updated: Jan 11, 2022

Saturdays in my life our so full of activity. This morning I groaned around and rolled out of bed at 7:30 because the neighbor was already dropping off their car to wash. And as usual by the time I was showered our neighbor guy that helps was already here and so there went relaxed Saturday breakfast with my husband. Like my mom in law said, "You all aren't children anymore." I went grocery shopping all by myself, took the long way around to get two shiny red delicious apples at Clercine for 50 cents each, and was feeling like a BOSS. Something changed along the way and I'm absolutely not scared to drive here anymore. Now watch me have a wreck next week since I said that lol! There's a sign we pass every day for a little market called Damas, and just for the hang of it, I drove down there and I don't think I'll buy veggies anywhere else after this! There weren't many people jostling around that made you feel like you were gonna get pickpocketed, the prices were lower, I could keep an eye on my car, and I felt so free wandering among the booths choosing my own stuff like old days. I had enough money to stop at the supermarket on the way home and buy real cheese.... Altogether I spent around $15. It's so different here... You buy cheese and apples in the same week like that and feel like you're living HIGH. Plus we have plenty of little watermelon and lime puree cubes for fresh juice every day. And a 13x9 of lasagna for supper and to go with our rice tomorrow and hopefully a few lunches for Zèzè. Lasagna ends up being a side dish here to eat along with rice. I did it with a cheese sauce... Butter, flour, a can of evaporated milk, and two laughing cow triangles. Sometimes I laugh at myself because sauce like that tastes so rich and good to me now. But you start out everything with epis... And Haitians have got that down! Your flavor comes from the herbs and veggies and then you just add about of milk and cheese for creaminess. My husband says you need 3 things, epis, maggi (chicken boullion), and acid like vinegar or lime and if you can get that right, that's what makes food good.

I made carrot cookies too, to share with the people that are riding with us to Mical's funeral tomorrow, attempted to clean house, took control of the money from the car wash, and had guys making spaghetti in my kitchen for a couple hours... So I'm TIRED. Zèzè is finishing the neighbor's car, which will make 12 for today. They wash them with pressure washer and then a bucket by hand, rinse with pressure washer, dry the outside, sweep the carpet with a broom, and wipe out the inside for $30 Haitian, which is about $1.50 US. But it totally helps out... Tonight our little propane tank ran out and the money from the car wash filled it up, so how cool is that?

Before I tell the toilet story, I want to say that I had a lovely 27th birthday, probably one of the best birthdays yet. I set the table with china and made pumpkin yummy dessert with dream whip and coffee for breakfast, so we were almost late to school. My little blue and gray clad monkeys were on a high... They all had presents and cards for me. They were more excited than me. One had drawn a picture of me holding hands with my husband... Then he said, "Mrs. Pinchina can I tell you something? I wanted to draw a picture of you kissing." Everyone doubled over laughing and snapped their fingers Haitian style and slapped their knees at that. I told him soon it would be him getting married and I'd be a little old lady then and laugh at him. About 10:30 I sent one of them down for something and he came running back up saying, "Mrs. Pinchina, someone brought you something but it's a secret what it is come and see!!" So we all trooped down and they told me to close my eyes and led me over to a car. And lo and behold Zèzè had sent me a huge bouquet of flowers. It was seriously so cool and having those kids there made it even more fun. One little gentleman offered to carry them upstairs and he couldn't even see the stairs since the bouquet was wider then him!

We let out school a bit early and one of the moms brought me a huge 3 layer chocolate cake with lots of real powdered sugar frosting and pearl sprinkles. So Zèzè and I chilled around a bit at home and ate cake. Our friends told us about a cool restaurant with a pool called Complexe Regina. It's really clean and has a fountain and a bunch of colored lights that they turn on when it gets dark. You pay $5 to get in the complex, but that counts toward your pool fee or meal. We had fried chicken and fresh juice and left about $18 there. The water was cold.. It was down to 80 that evening so I shivered around and turned the heater on in the car when we left lol. It made me feel kind of adventurous to be out after dark again like that for once! Doesn't happen alot here.

On to the real story…

The Monday after we went to Fond Michelle, we were awakened rudely by a call saying the roads were blocked and we’d have to take a different way to school. So we scrambled and that was how the day went… scrambled. The next morning on the way to school Zèzè realized he had left his wallet at home. Then when I called him to pick me up in the evening, he said he’d been searching the whole house for the wallet and it was nowhere to be found. I confidently told him we’d find it before we slept, but no. We started wondering when we had even had it last… The last thing we remembered for certain was he had it on the way to Fond Michelle because he gave money towards food for the family. So the week went on, and every day we were scared he would get asked for his license at a police check. Then he broke down and told me that he had taken out basically all the money in our account, and we had lost enough to fill our biggest propane bottle and buy gas for the car and pressure washer. The little cup of food money was basically empty, and we finished our juice puree and started drinking water. I was definitely thinking before I cooked, not using the oven or making anything that had to cook for a long time. Friday I planned meals for the next week and figured I could get by with no money if I had a few goudes to buy a few onions and parsley for epis. But we were running out of gas. We went to the police station after work with borrowed money to get started getting Zèzè a new license. Then we set our hopes on the car wash. The night before, it rained, so the streets were really muddy for people to get to our house. A few cars straggled in, but then the pressure washer started messing up. I held my breath and prayed every time it lugged down, and every time I went out there I could see how frustrated Zèzè was. He went to the funeral choir practice, and the boys only washed two more all afternoon. He didn't even pay the guys, cuz he couldn't. And Sunday evening, a mechanic next door that had ripped us off on a car repair decided to look at the pressure washer for free. So it got later and later and there were six to ten guys in the yard and an extra car... And they turned the water pump on. Our toilet had been giving problems flushing all week so I thought maybe I could get it unplugged with the extra water pressure. So I plunged away courageously for awhile, got a half flush, and went to the kitchen for some cleaner to make the whole deal smell a bit better. I could not believe my eyes when I returned to see the wallet barfed up neatly into the clear water. I just stared. Then of course ran for Zèzè and we had a thank you prayer right away. The money stank but we dried it out over night and you don't hang on to money very long here, so by now that's someone else's problem to deal with. I don't know what the moral of the story is... We prayed every day to find it or accept it if we couldn't find it, and all the while it was in our toilet. For 6 days! Maybe the only lesson is use germex after you touch money. But this week I'm very thankful for my juice in the mornings.... That we could save our gift money and do something for my birthday... For the pile of veggies in my fridge and gas in the car. The pressure washer worked perfectly this week, and we didn't pay a goude for repairs on it either.

*I lost some of this yesterday evening so I'm finishing now, Sunday evening. Today was Mikal's funeral, and it has truly been a terrible day that I won't ever forget. I don't really want to try to describe the funeral. It's quite different than what I'd be used to... Wailing and screaming and flailing around.... and at this point something I don't want to even get used to. Like I said before too, the family is incredibly poor and Mikal was succeeding and was their hope of rising above their situation. Poverty stands out so bad in the midst of grief like this and just makes your throat hurt and your stomach nauseated. So ya... I have alot of images from today tattooed on the inside of my eyelids. And of course I watched my strong, healthy husband and sat there and cried thinking how this could be me in this situation. He was working on a moto flat in the exact spot Mikal was killed just within a few days of it happening. I pray this starts to bring a bit of closure to the family. He died on August 25, so it's been almost a month already. They didn't know for a week, and the rest of the time, they were doing investigations. Keep praying for their family... If I could make a top ten list of the people I know who are suffering, they would be so far above anyone else on the list. But God is there for them just like for everyone else. Love y'all!

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