|Bougainvillea is everywhere here.|
Sights: On the rare occasion that it is overcast, the diffused sun still makes you squint. Otherwise, the sunny, bright blue skies easily explain why even some little children wear sunglasses. Our house is surrounded and heavily shaded with jungle-like trees and plants that look like what people in the US keep inside in pots. Then it gets dark—really dark—in what seems a very short time.
Sounds: Roosters crow seemingly all day until bedtime, when they take a break for three or four hours until you are really enjoying your sleep. Wild birds start singing when the sun rises and provide pleasant alternative to the rooster. In our neighborhood I listened (good exercise for someone with my issues) and heard pigs, goats, dogs, car horns, big trucks, motorcycles and even a cow (I saw her myself). The sound of evening rain, thunder and even the roar of flooded streets is has been punctuated by mellow cricket-chirping. The street in front of the house is quiet by the standards of this town, but regularly you hear schoolchildren and adults having animated conversations in French and Creole. Inside the guest house when we have power there is the continual drone of fans, teacher voices, translator voices and student voices. In the mornings our concrete corridors echo with clanging kitchen paraphernalia. When the AC inverter starts mocking us with its beeping it reminds us that we are about to lose all contact with the outside world unless city power or the gas-guzzling generator start up soon (Quick, big Danish-American, finish your ignorant report about our country!).
Smells: Food odors range from pleasant to pungent. Garlic is one of the most recognizable smells for me aside from my generic cognizance of “meat.” Everything from insect repellant to jungle foliage and exhaust from the generator crowd the nostrils depending on where you stand and when you stand there. Oh, and then there’s the raw sewage in parts of town.
Feelings: Mandatory cold showers (water heaters are for people on the continent) normally do not make me complain, although this year I have been able to describe the morning air as “cool” more than once (Oh, another sound: "b-r-r-r-r"). Our tropical location means hot and sticky air (90’s), sweat and mosquito bites (welts).
And speaking of senses, here’s one more thought from Crazy Love:
We’ve conditioned ourselves to hear messages without responding. Sermons have become Christian entertainment. We go to church to hear a well-developed sermon and a convicting thought. We’ve trained ourselves to believe that if we’re convicted, our job is done. If you’re just hearing the Word and not actually doing something with it, you’re deceiving yourself.-Francis Chan (p.184)