Saturday, May 28, 2011

A day in the life: Tet kale!

Tet kale! is a Haitian saying. It refers to somone working so hard, your hair falls out and you go bald.

It was made greatly popularized during the recent Haitian Presidential campaign. The follicle-challenged candidate, Michel "Sweet Mickey" Martelli, won the election with a mandate -- 67% of the vote -- and a well-suited campaign slogan: Tet kale!

So what does that have to do with me? Not much. But since the rainy season began a few weeks ago, the weather has become close to unbearable. The heat is still here and now it's accompanied by thick humidity. It's tough to stay cool.

But worse than the humidity is the bugs that have accompanied it. It's not just the flying termites, but there's flying ants now too. As I sit here writing this, I hear the first drop of rain falling on the corrugated tin roof. Pitter, patter. Pitter, patter. If it turns to a downpour, then two things will happen:

1) I won't be able to hear a thing. Talking on the phone, and even in person, can become futile.

2) The flying bugs will search out the light... and since we haven't had city power for a few days (I'm one of the few fortunate enough to have any sort of electricity... battery-powered) the bugs find me.

And it was a few days ago that I decided the bugs were overwhelming. As I sat I studying, I felt several land on my head. It was probably at that moment that I realized:

Tet kale!

I've been working so hard, I should have no hair!So I went to the barber today and got my already fairly short hair taken down a notch. Funny thing to me was that I asked to go bald, but he refused. I'm not entirely sure why. As usual, there was something lost in translation. But he seemed to indicate that my ghostly white scalp would get scorched in the Haitian sun.

I couldn't disagree. So I thanked him, paid him and went on my merry way... glad to have one aspect of personal hygiene requirements reduced in a place where I'm never sure if I'll have electricity or running water.
Tim White

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Between your new motor bike and your shaved head, you're ready to join a biker gang and pick up biker chicks!