I forgot to mention two events that are worth mentioning that occurred on the 15th… The Turkish neighbors that live just south of us have hosted volunteers at their house for dinner a hand full of times, and we have reciprocated the gesture by hosting them here as well. Thursday was one of those nights that we were invited for an authentic Turkish meal. When we arrived there were many tables with cloths, candles lit, calming music providing ambiance, and a large marker board that said, “Welcome Guests,” with an American flag and a Turkish flag drawn together. One of the volunteers that has been here for a few weeks said, “Man, this on is going to be hard to follow…” Apparently each time they meet for dinner who ever is hosting has upped the annie a bit. So now Steph, our logistics coordinator, said, “What do we need a live band now? We have to keep up with the Joanses!”
The food was amazing, and the company was charming. We had a soup course, a main course, a bowl with nuts course, after dinner tea, then after dinner Turkish coffee. It was quite a spread. I asked a Turkish man next to me how they make their coffee because it was so rich and unique. He said there was quite a process, explained all that was involved and then followed it up with, coffee is extremely important in our culture. If a boy and a girl wish to marry, the boy’s family must approach the girls family and ask them to coffee. That means they want to talk business. So when the boy’s family arrives to the girl’s family’s house she is immediately under inspection. He told me that the most important measure of if she will be a good wife was her coffee making skills; I am not making this up, he was serious. He said that they evaluate the cup that it is served in, the amount of foam, the temperature, the sweetness, and then he followed it up with her manners and how she walks. I said, “That’s a lot of pressure for a cup of coffee.”
He then said that a common practice in Turkey was Coffee fortune telling. Turkish coffee is served with the grounds at the bottom of the cup, when you are done with the coffee you disregard the grounds. Instead of palm reading they read your coffee grounds. Once you have consumed the liquid you place the cup upside down onto the saucer, move the cup in a counter clock direction 3x then set it down. After the top has cooled you right the cup and evaluate the pattern of grounds that has formed. If you have one long streak you are to travel a long journey, if two streaks cross you are to find a love, if you see something that looks like a door you will work for the State Department (He actually said that, sounded random to me but he said it was a common fortune). I’d have to say that my Turkish coffee lesson was my favorite part of dinner.
The other event occurred during the night. I was resting in my sleep sac when I heard a sound like someone rummaging through my pack… It was about 1am, and I thought why would someone come over to my bed and go through my stuff? Then my brain woke up and reminded me that no one would go through my stuff; which leaves… I shined a flashlight on my pack and saw a furry mouse retreat across the room! An uncontrolled, “Ugh” utterance came from my mouth, but non of my roommates stirred. “Ok,” I told myself, “No biggie, of course theirs mice, just get some sleep.” Then about 1 hour later I was sleeping on my back and I felt like someone was tickling me, at first I thought it was Leigh, then I remembered where I was. I opened my eyes and low and behold the mouse was cruising around on my stomach!! I said, “Ugh!” and flung him about 3 feet utilizing my sleep sock as a sling shot! Thankfully that did the trick, he has not returned to provide an abdominal massage since. I told the girls about the even in the morning and when the words mouse left my mouth one of them screamed and jumped on her bed. I tried to play it cool like it didn’t bug me, when in actuality I was imaging waking up with half of my face eaten away. Instead I said that Mickey and I were playing Gin Rummy and then decided to spoon. J
That just about catches us up…
Today clinic was seamless. We had more medical personnel than usual so we finished seeing everyone around 2:30pm, so everyone opted to spend more time with our amazing Haitian translators and enjoy some beers and crepes with them. I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet these amazing people. They have a hand around my heart and I really do not want to leave them. I want to pack all of them in my suite case. Thinking about how I will be separated from them on Wed just a few short days away actually made me a little misty… Considering this, I asked Marc how difficult it was to make these relationships and then loose them each week. He looked down, then said, “It’s really hard…” Then with a smile he said, “But I know that you will be back, right??” I said, “Yes, I have to! I just don’t know how yet.”