Friday, August 6, 2010

Another Way to Say "Welcome to My Country"

Have you ever been carried like a baby across a raging river by a Haitian bodyguard wearing a rainbow speedo?

I have.

Oh yes, let me set the stage:

We are on our way to visit a rural village outside of Port au Prince, Haiti. To do so, we need to cross a river, swollen and fast because of recent rains. Truly, it looks intimidating.

As my American friends start to roll up their pant legs, I step away from them, down the bank, to take some photographs. Click, click, new angle, click. I remove my eye from the viewfinder only just in time to see what is about to happen.

In the river, only a few feet away, is Marc, our bodyguard.  Marc is muscular beyond reckoning and walks with a strong-man’s swagger. But now, Marc no longer is wearing his pants. Though I try not to notice, his speedo-style underwear is rainbow stripes in color.

What? Where are his pants? Why is he walking toward –

And I am swept up into his arms, cradled like a child (or fire rescue victim), seemingly as light as a backpack. Marc carries me this way across the turbulent river without even stumbling.

Half-naked Marc carries the females through all four river crossings that day.

They didn’t put that in the brochure.

Oh Haiti. Oh butch people. So was Marc being a foresighted gentleman? Or a bit of an exhibitionist? Either way, my shoes stayed dry.

So did his pants.

Here are some pics from the village we visited that day: 

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