First week on the job

It’s been a great week. I started my new job with Fonkoze on Monday and so far it’s going great. Taking a tap tap to downtown PAP is not as bad as I thought it would be. I actually kind of like it. Morning rush hour is a really busy time here – people are everywhere, just trying to get to wherever it is that they make their living. It’s not often that people see a white person on a tap tap, but I don’t even get that many weird looks when I get on, and no drivers have tried to rip me off when it comes time to pay (the tap tap to downtown costs 15 Gourdes, less than 50 cents, and it’s pretty common for the driver to not give you change because he thinks you don’t know what a tap tap is supposed to cost). Maybe I just pull off the “I know what I’m doing” look well.

Some highlights from the week:

On Monday when I was walking the rest of the way to the office after leaving the tap tap, a man yelled that he “would like my hair” in Creole. I’ve gotten compliments about my hair from Haitians before, but never from a man, and never saying that he actually wants my hair. I’m not so sure my hair would look that great on a Haitian man.

Carpooling is popular because not that many people have a car of their own and tap taps are hot and cramped so therefore aren’t the number 1 choice for a lot of people. So, one of my coworkers has been giving me a ride home every day. There are always people walking down the street selling random stuff to people in cars, and the most memorable stuff-seller from this week was a guy selling cable wires, a plunger, and a bike pump.In case you happen to need any of those things while driving down the road, he’s your man.

I had to get passport photos taken for my employee file and a few other things associated with work, so on Tuesday I ventured out to a photography studio/print shop. It was a nice place complete with those self-service printing machines that you stick a memory card into and select the pictures you want printed. All eyes were on me as I walked in as dozens of teenagers who’d just gotten out of school tried to figure out what the heck I was doing there. With my broken Creole I managed to explain what I needed, they sent me off to the room where photos are taken, and 10 minutes later I had my not so flattering passport photos.

Needless to say I shouldn’t have a shortage of interesting/funny/awkward moments to share from now on.

The office where I work is very close to the National Palace, which is still very much untouched since it was destroyed in the earthquake, and whenever I walk by it it’s always a little shocking that it still looks the way it does. The lawn is perfectly manicured and everything else looks perfect, but there’s this enormous half crumbled building… it’s all pretty eerie. I don’t have my own picture of the palace because people tend to get upset if they see someone snapping one. This week I saw a truck full of probably 20 tourists in the back and every one of them was taking pictures as the truck slowly drove by the palace. It was pretty tacky if you ask me and I really don’t want to be seen as one of those people.

I’m really looking forward to what’s ahead of me now that I’ve got this job. It’s cool to see all these great projects and businesses that Haitians around the country are starting. Soon I’ll be able to join a business analyst (the ones who find businesses to support) on trips out into the field to see them firsthand.

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Comments
One Response to “First week on the job”
  1. Sue says:

    So glad to hear that you are enjoying your new job! Sounds like you are fitting right in. Do you think the Haitians talk about the white girl with freckles and strawberry blonde hair who rides the taptap everyday? đŸ™‚ Can’t wait to hear more of your stories!
    Love you
    Susie

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