Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Meeting the President

My Haiti life is absurd. For example, yesterday I spent the morning teaching health classes in the ghetto and then spent the evening at a Brazilian Independence Day ball where I met Haiti's president!

How did I end up at the Brazilian Independence Day ball? Well, a couple friends and I crashed the party. We had good reason - two of our other friends were performing at the ball and we wanted to support them. So we just waltzed into the most posh hotel in Haiti, down the receiving line where I got kissed by the Brazilian ambassador and his wife, and then through throngs of Brazilian UN soldiers. Minutes later, the ambassador started the official program by saying, "We are pleased to welcome His Excellency, President Joseph Michel Martelly," and suddenly, there was our president, standing on stage!

After the speeches were over, Martelly joined the rest of us on the floor to watch the dancing. He was surrounded by Secret Service, but we were able to walk right up, get a photo and then poke a hand through for a handshake. I'm still not sure what I think of him as a politician, but I can say that he has a firm, trustworthy handshake and a very happy looking smile.

Viv Tet Kale!!

(In case you forget what Tet Kale means, Martelly's the bald man in the center leaning forward to smile at me when he saw me taking the photo.)

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