Life can be difficult in Haiti, especially when it comes to doing chores. In a country where it can be hard to find clean water or soap, the people here have done an amazing job; making their own brooms, stoves, and public wells. I’d like to show you some other things these remarkable people have done to survive here in Haiti.
Cooking in Haiti is one of the most important chores, yet also one of the most difficult. Not many people have gas stoves and ovens, and anyway, there’s no Walmart in order to buy propane. So what do they use for stoves? The most common substitute is a charcoal fire. Perhaps a little slower than a gas stove, but it works! Just the other day, our housekeeper made us a delicious lunch of boiled plantains and fried sausage and a very good sauce. She did the whole thing outside on a charcoal fire!
Laundry is another thing that is both very important but very difficult in Haiti. It’s pretty fascinating to watch the ladies do it. They usually have two or three big tubs, a bar of lye soap, and water from the nearest pump. They rinse the clothes, then scrub them all over until there’s more suds than water. I asked them once how long you had to scrub each piece of clothing. They responded, “Until you go all the way around.” So… I guess you have to keep track, or something? After wringing out the garment, they rinse it, then wash it again. This is followed by another rinse, and then hanging the clothes out on a clothes line. This process generally takes most of the day, and the clothes have to be left out all night to dry, and are usually collected around noon the following day. It’s a pretty big job, but it’s always done with love!
A smaller chore here in Haiti that must be done is sweeping. The roads are dusty or muddy, and welcome mats don’t seem to exist here, so a broom is essential. To buy a good broom, you could walk for a few days to the nearest store… or, you could just make one! So, most of the brooms here are handmade. Some of these brooms actually surprise me by how well they work. Most of them are made out of grasses, twine, or sticks. There is no such thing as a dustpan here, so the dirt gets swept out the door.
Most people don’t have running water in their homes, so they carry water in jugs from the nearest well. This is usually the job of the children. Sadly, many elderly who live alone must cary their own water, sometimes for a few miles. Haiti180 mission teams sometimes help the elderly or disabled by bringing them clean water, so they don’t have to use dirty river water.
Although there are many chores to do in Haiti, four of the most important are cooking, laundry, sweeping, and carrying water. People here have found remarkable ways to get what they need and to make do with what they have. I am always so surprised at how they do it. People from all over the world would benefit from knowing about how these chores are done by a people who have so little.