Last week, a volunteer and I were at a small fishing village to do a training for a group of local midwives. It was a particularly warm March day and the beautiful, blue waters of the Caribbean looked soft and inviting. We watched, as small boys swam, dove and played in the water. Later we wondered down to what we thought was the same place and sat in the water, letting gentle waves splash against us. All around us were mountains and sea and time to soak away a long week. We talked of births, midwives and Haiti weaving together the stories of our lives.
The village is a small but busy place with people working, visiting and moving about and so the group of children who gathered on the shore did not seem unusual. The children in Haiti are friendly and often wave and say hello and stop to talk. We did not find the group of children gathering on the shore and waving unusual and we waved back; happy in our current situation.
But one little girl seemed very persistant in getting our attention and seemed to want to communicate something of great importance. She kept calling, "Blanc, blanc. Caca Caca " and waving her arms. We happily waved back but were increasingly aware of her alarm.
Then we looked over to where she was pointing and saw a group of small boys going to the bathroom. "Ahh" Caca was not an unknown Creole word but a universal word for pooh. We were, it seems lounging in Caca Beach; a place for going pooh and not a place for swimming. Ooops.
We determined that the salt water made it all okay and picked our way through the piles of Caca and back to the dorm where we showered and had a good laugh.
A few days later, back in Morne Rogue, a mother I know eagerly waved me over and showed me her latrine and then began to make. swimming motions and laugh. A small group gathered and she repeated the motions again with great enthusiasm.
Could it be that our reputation for swimming at Caca Beach followed us down the long dirt road and over the mountains ?
We walked abendazole over to the orphanage ( to treat hookworm ) and then head back to MBH for a game of bi-lingual Bannagrams before bed. Is "caca" a real word? Does it count or is it slang? We all vote for it counting as a very real and most important word.