You cant live in Haiti without knowing the word ‘degaje’. You cant survive as an aid worker in Haiti without knowing how to use the word ‘degaje’.
‘DAY-ga-djAY’. It means to make due with what you’ve got- figure it out. Sometimes the tools you need for the job aren’t available (most of the time, actually). Sometimes your boss asks you to grab concrete mixers from your base and that means having to beg and grovel to the base manager who is already ticked off with your project for trying to get materials at the last minute. Sometimes it means figuring out how to do two different jobs at the same time because both have the same deadline. Sometimes it means needing to pick up lunch for 100+ workers AND go buy materials, and get that much needed equipment your boss cant go without, and oh ya, all your drivers are gone for the day.
I love my job. I love the team I get to work with. I love the excitement (some might sub that word for stress) of problem solving out here. Its such a good challenge. Its like when all the elements are against you and the chances of you making it are pretty slim and you put all you’ve got into it and you get it done. Its the same thrill as reaching that summit, or topping out of a sweet climb. Its that same ‘YOU GOT THIS’ encouragement. The mental and physical challenge that drives us to push ourselves to the next bigger and harder challenge.
Some days are better then others. Some days have more challenges then others. Most days are degaje days and you just have to figure it out. Like my brother says, “out here you gotta be a ‘get $#!* done kinda person’”. And thats just one of the MANY awesome words of wisdom I’ve been learning since starting my work here in Leogane.
Today I got it done. I figured it out. Today was a challenging day, but I got through it. My team got through it. Not everything was resolved. Not everything was accomplished. I have a big ‘to-do’ list already prepared for tomorrow, and thats ok. One thing I’ve learned before coming to Haiti is that you just gotta take life one day at a time. Out here, you gotta take it one day at a time or else you wont be able to survive for very long. When you take it one day at a time, usually- for the most part- the good will outweigh the bad. And that makes all the difference.