We have two geckos in our room. Some rooms only have one. They are a topic of conversation when you first arrive and notice them. Some of the visitors try to chase them out. Before they learn how beneficial they are.
Geckos eat their weight in bugs… I don’t know how someone calculates that. All I can tell you is they hunt and eat bugs constantly. They crawl along the wall, watching everything. And you have to be very still or you will scare them. They stop five inches or so from their prey on the wall, and then literally quicker than the eye can see they seem to leap (as if one could actually leap off a wall and land back again) on the subject of their meal, and the bug is gone.
The guest house where we stay has few enough bugs, many less than we find out and about and fewer than most Haitian homes I imagine. With the open air, no doors or screens, bugs come and go. I had a butterfly flap in and land on me the other day in the common area of the guest house. At least sitting on my shoulder it was safe from a gecko attack. Shortly it left, not finding whatever it was looking for. The bat has come in and flown around feeding twice now.
Spiders are another thing. We do notice them, from small to I guess medium-sized. They also eat bugs, so most of them are welcome in our room to go where they please. The really big furry black spindly-legged ones do get your attention, and they also get invited to live elsewhere! Several kinds of bugs want your blood, but really there are so few that actually get you that to talk about it is fun, but not worth much worry.
There are plants growing next to the entry of the guest house that resemble ferns. They have four fern-like leaves, but interestingly enough they have feelings. Sensitive plants. If you touch one, stroking the leaf, they recoil and close up and play dead. Leave them be and in a minute or two they open back up. It’s amazing. Of course we pestered them like crazy the first few hours we were here. “Come and see THIS!”
There’s a lot of that here. Come and see this, and that, watch this, look out for the mango on the tree as you drive by, don’t step in that, hold this, don’t eat that after its fallen. There’s no 5 second rule here. If it falls, don’t eat it. I guess the other rules might be; wave and smile to be friendly, speak the Creole you know, and afternoon has a different greeting than morning. Hello works only a small percentage of the time, but Bonjour and Bonsoir generally evokes a response and smile back.
People smile here. You do wonder why sometimes. A scowl is the oddity, and sometimes you wonder why again. But don’t go there. If you come here to wonder, that works. If you come here to try to figure out why people are friendly, or not, or why they smile, or not, or why the children come by such numbers to play, or why people are what they are, you will drive yourself crazy. Haiti can’t be understood by virtue of speculation or judgment. Just come visit, live in it, smile and wave, and work and learn, and let Haiti kind of soak in. Goodness knows after you leave for home you will continue to think about what you have experienced here. For me, Haiti sets me free.