Last year in Haiti we worked with a group of construction workers at the school who didn't speak our language which made it difficult for us to connect. It wasn't until the end of our trip last year when they challenged us to a soccer game that we finally felt we made inroads into relationships with them... and then we left.
Well this year, many of the same construction workers were there and we recognized each other and right from the get-go, there was a much warmer reception! So the very first day we were working, I had tried to speak some Creole with a few of them while working and was moving a pile of rocks (there were a TON of rocks to move!!!) when we uncovered a TARANTULA!!!
A big hairy live tarantula!!!
Well despite being terrified of ANY spider-type creature, the photographer in me jumped immediately into action as I ran to grab my camera and returned to take a photo of this super creepy specimen!! So as with all photos of creepy things, I started further off capturing photos and then slowly moved closer as I felt safe to do so. So I was getting in nice and close when one of the construction workers reached in, grabbed the tarantula and
THREW IT AT ME!!!!!!
What happened next is quite the blur, but I remember leaping in the opposite direction to where I thought the tarantula landed and have been told there was some screaming involved and I apparently hit the construction worker a few times!!! Oh and all the while I was desperately reminding myself to NOT DROP MY CAMERA as I jumped on top of loose rocks especially as I had NOT taken the time to put the strap around my neck.
And you know what???
This was the highlight of my day and one of the best moments of my trip this year!!!
You see, it was such a sure sign to me that the local Haitian construction workers welcomed us foreigners with open arms... what you need to understand is Haitians are used to being exploited by foreigners and strangers... they don't trust easily... they don't understand why "rich white people" would come to their country to work and pay to do it!! But because we had come last year and returned to do it again this year, they trust that we really do care... and they trusted us enough to have some fun and throw a tarantula at us (or me... but I like to think of it as "taking one for the team").
And that incident set the tone for the rest of the week... their acceptance of us was evident and it was pure joy to work along-side these men who work so very hard building this school for this community (part of our trip expenses goes towards paying their wages to work on the project with us).
And for those wondering, the construction worker insured that we would be safe from the tarantula. After analyzing it (check out this photo of the underside of a tarantula!!!), he safely removed it far away from our construction site (ok he smashed it a couple times with his shovel and then drop-kicked it down the mountain!!). And for those of you on Facebook who were more worried about the tarantula than me... sorry to say he did NOT survive... (but I did :)
Stay tuned for more stories!!!!