"Yon ti dlo fret"
(A Little Cold Water)
By Jamie M. Olson '99
It's so hot sometimes that I must stand perfectly still. I feel the
heat crackling on my tin roof, breaking my white skin, stinging my eyes,
pushing its way through me. I am about to choke, to bury myself under
the sand, throw myself back into the ocean, tears in my eyes: and then
the rain comes to Bariyadel.
Bariyadel is my little village located on the southwesternmost tip
of Haiti, where I make sure to touch the ocean everyday. I came to Bariyadel
over a year and a half ago with Kreyol, the language of Haiti, barely
falling out of my mouth. I used to be able only to ask for a glass of
water. Now, sometimes I get so caught up in talking with my neighbors,
hanging out with my friends, singing, dancing and telling jokes, that
I forget that I am not Haitian, but an American white woman.
No Peace Corps volunteer leaves Haiti after two years without changing.
Several of my friends have fallen in love with Haitians and are getting
married. Others have learned to share more, care about people more and
love more. Others have wider eyes, stronger muscles, tougher feet and
crazy, beautiful stories. I have learned so much.