So, today was our 15th anniversary. We had planned to go for lunch together, just me and Marc, in Petit Goave, but we had to make a few clinic visits first for our adoption process for Kiki. I had hoped they wouldn't be long, but like everything in Haiti, it took hours and was quite the experience. I am still laughing to myself about the whole thing and feel inclined to share.
So first we were sent to the psychologist to have a psychological evaluation. The psychologist was nice enough, but I couldn't help thinking that for the amount of money he was charging us for the visit (just because he is recognized by the government), and the short intview he had with us, I should become an Haitian psychologist. The questions were not as penetrating as I would have expected, though I think he had a good impression of us that he chose to simplify his interview (but still charged us the same exhorbant amount). He asked basic questions about our family, but some strange ones too. Just curious, how would the average person answer this: Do you feel you are too valuable and important to society or of equal level to society? Hmm, that was a stumper. Or how about this one: For where you are today, are you proud of yourself or do you feel like a failure?
What was funnier to me though is how business is often conducted in Haiti. It seems random, makeshift and unplanned. The psychologist's office was not so bad, though it was the size of a closet set up in the front porch of his house. I was expecting a nice office... but this was better compared to the doctors clinic we went to next for our medical exams.
This clinic too was a private business, set up in the home of the doctor. The office was a makeshift room in the corner of what I think was the living room, separated by a set up plywood wall and the width of maybe four feet. We entered through a side screen door from the porch that was strewn with lawn chairs and an old leather lazyboy chair. The room was so narrow, we could not both enter the door at once. There was an examining table with a clean white sheet in front of two squished together desks and a filing cabinet. The doctors (a husband and wife team, evidently) worked together out of the same small 'clinic' room and as they entered through a door in the makeshift wall, politely introducing themselves, they squeezed around us and each other to get to their seats behind each desk in front of us. I glanced at Marc a few times to see if his expression would show if he was considering this comical as I was, but he held a respectful gaze. They each pulled out a blank white sheet of paper (as the psychologist had also done), to take their notes from their 'examination' by posing us 20 questions concerning our health, each asking us at the same time different questions- the husband, my doctor and the wife, Marc's doctor. It seems odd to me that they would not have some sort of set form for checking boxes or making notes that would be uniform for any health exam...but this is Haiti. So they use blank white paper. I am partially assuming that when we pick up our medical exam certificate that maybe it will be all typed out in some sort of official format... we'll see. Anyway, they took our blood pressure and listened to our breathing and heart, then prescribed us a series of lab tests. Throughout the 'exam' many people passed through the house or came to the front door, which they yelled to another family member through the makeshift wall to take care of. And they had their own little dialogue going on between them in French the whole time, commenting on us, on how the exam should be done and whether I was a Christian or not because I have a tatoo on my back. They they shared that they were Jehovah's Witnesses and shared a bit with us about their faith. The whole time I couldn't help but plan in my head how I could better rearrange their office clinic for them so that it functioned more efficiently and so the wife wouldnt have to keep squeezing behind her husband to get in and out of her little desk area. I had to hold back my smiles trying to muster up all of my manners. They were very nice folks, but acted more like ma and pa than professional doctors receiving clients into their clinic.
They proceeded to share with us their personal story about how this is not really their office, clearly feeling a bit embarrassed about the state of the environment, and that they used to have a nice home, clinic and pharmacy that was damaged in the earthquake and the mayor forced it to be torn down although they thought it could be repaired. A sad story indeed, as all of their 20 years of efforts to build their home and business were brought to zero again. And at the end of our exams, we offered to pray for them. Then paid another hefty bill, which I hope contributes to them being able to re-establish a better clinic and office.
By the end of our clinic visits, it was 3:30pm and we headed to a restaurant that is downtown Petit Goave that we have been to before and has good food and service. But again, it is Haitian service- there is limited power, so no lights are on, but they did turn on the fans for us and give priority to turn on the soccer game on the flatscreen tv on the wall. We had a very tasty late lunch and Marc got to watch the Barcelona game- I can't remember the other team as its not really my interest. It demands my attention though everytime a goal is made, as the Haitian commentator yells a very long Gooooooooooooooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllllllllllllllllll!Goal,Goal,Goal, Goal! The last funny thing is when we were all done and ready to pay the bill, my cash was depleted from our clinic visits and I was teasing Marc that he should pay since he took me out (although our money is all in one purse). So he was going to use his credit card, but the power had just gone out so their credit card machine did not work. They did it the old fashion way, taking the credit card imprint. Then we were on our way.
It was not the most romantic of anniversary outings. In fact, I think we were both in shock after our clinic visits for awhile and still processing the experience that we finally started sharing and laughing about it on our way back home. Marc was not too excited that I planned those appointments on our anniversary, but I honestly hadn't considered the date when it was booked. So, we'll have a do over date, minus the clinic visits. Still makes for good stories though. And I hope it brings us one step closer to finalizing Kiki's adoption.