By: Deborah Augustin, Senior
My parents are still going to work and the only adult at home right now is my grandma, so I decided to ask her a few questions and translate them for today’s journal entry. An additional thing I learned about my grandma is that she goes on a lot of tangents and explains things in too much detail so I cut a lot of things out.
D: What was life like when you were my age?
G: I was married at your age (she laughed at my shocked face), yes, life moves faster when you don’t live as long. Teenagers weren’t really allowed to go out date in my time; either your parents picked a husband or you had a couple of boyfriends, but either way you would end up married.
D: What would you do before you got married?
G: I had a lot of fun, I had a really good friend at school and her dad worked for the government before the coup. We used to do everything together. She had a maid and a swimming pool at her house, and we would go there all the time after school. I didn’t even own a bathing suit so I would just go in the water with my underclothes and take a trolley home with soaking wet socks.
D: What was the craziest/ wildest thing you did as a teenager?
G: I sold my school books on the last day of high school so I could go out to eat with my friends. I knew I would never need them again, and I barely used the books when I had them, so I didn’t feel bad. I went to the outdoor market and walked around yelling about cheap math and science books for sale (since those are the hardest and most important classes in Haiti). I sold them to a girl that said she was going into my grade for 15 Haitian Gourdes. I took the money and went straight to a restaurant called Tony’s with my friends and I ate until I couldn’t even look at food.
D: Was there ever an outbreak of disease when you were my age?
G: Well it wasn’t world wide, but we did have a very bad cholera outbreak after a harsh rainy season when I was 19-20 years old. I remember how slowly the panic started to grow in the neighborhood as the death count went from 5 to 10. People stopped buying coffee, snow cones, bread ( basically anything that came from a street vendor). I boiled dutch ovens full of water every day until the outbreak was over, and even a couple of months after the police told us it was okay. We didn’t have things like public bathrooms or hand sanitizer so people would fill their bellies at home to avoid eating out and I would make your grandpa take a hot bath right when he got home.
I am an amateur astrologist that loves cats and the Handmaid’s Tale. I am constantly searching for caffeine free tea and the meaning of life.