The Fellows Are Back!
Lauren Marlar and Hayley Fallon, Kore Timoun’s 2019 Fellows, returned stateside on February 26th due to the civil unrest in Haiti. On April 10th, they returned to Leogane. Hayley recounts their arrival, highlights from their first week back, and the transition back to life with Kore Timoun.
Lauren and I were both thrilled to be back with the crew. Neither of us had planned to return home for such a long period of time (I wasn’t planning on returning home until December), but we appreciate the care and thoughtfulness that went into the decision. Lauren and I were eager to get back to work. We both have a lot of time to make up for. Each of us kept on working remotely, but it was tough to be as effective. As the Communications and Public Relations Fellow, one of my main responsibilities is to capture moments and stories from the field, and before we left I was consistently going out in the field twice a week. I was learning and improving on how to talk to people. My Creole was getting better. Now that I’m back I feel the rust. My good reflexes have dulled, but they’re coming back quickly. We’re both getting back into the swing of things.
Our dear Leogane is hotter, people are planting, and there’s a bit more rain, but other than that it’s business as usual. Our coworkers have jokingly been calling us the Kore Timoun Diaspora, and they’re happy to have us back.
After a rigorous few days of work, we took the weekend to celebrate my birthday. On Saturday, we visited a cave; 13 of us – 9 staff and 4 kids – squeezed into the land cruiser to make the hour-long trek. Unfortunately one of the main ladders leading down to the cave was broken, so we weren’t able to have our tour. Luckily one of our monitrices, Fabrine, lives in the neighborhood, and she and her family welcomed us graciously: they brought out chairs for everyone, served tea, and passed around two babies for us to coo over. We ate a convivial meal of rice, corn, and beans and left with a promise to return once the repairs were made.
On the way back, we stopped at a Kleren distillery, where the big kids were treated to a tour and a taste of the rum-like beverage. Before we left, the owner kindly filled up my Dasani water bottle with Kleren for us to bring home.
We rounded out the weekend with a trip to the beach Sunday afternoon, where we swam and ate (fried plantains, pikliz, fish, avocados) to our hearts’ content. Haitian women have a sweet habit of laying like mermaids in the shallows and exfoliating with sand and washed up coral. As Yva and Miss Barreau rubbed their feet with coral, Lauren and I followed suit, “like a boy imitating his dad shaving,” joked Lauren. Yva laughed out loud when she saw us and told us we were wasting our time because we have soft feet- we don’t walk in the mountains or in the dirt. Thoroughly insulted, Lauren and I in turn accused the two of them of having soft feet. Once everyone had touched and commented on each other’s feet, we splashed around in a great wave of laughter. Only the sunset and the threat of early evening Rara traffic could drive us from the beach.
It really is sweet to be back.