When I was little I was taught not to talk to strangers. But as a missionary and an adult, I've found that as I talk to strangers, I get to know the places where I am living much better. We had a 30 minute walk each day from Rita's guest house to the AFTA Village. As I walked in my dress and hiking boots (the missionary style- ha) I would try to use the 5 Creole phrases I learned. I was walking back to Rita's house one afternoon and found myself walking in the same direction as a very large, muscular Haitian man. I greeted him, and he asked me if I spoke Spanish. "Si!" I told him. He told me that he only spoke English, French, and Creole. "Well I'm an American and I speak English," I told him. I found out that he was a Christian and a police officer. He showed me where the former police station was, which now is a junk yard full of rubble.
We continued walking and talking, and I asked him if the city of Port-au-Prince was safe. "What do you think?" he asked me. "I don't know," I answered, "I've never lived here before." "Well," he started, but before he could finish his response, he reached his giant arm over to me and threw me to the ground away from the road. A car had driven up onto the curve, and if he wouldn't have pushed me out of the way, I would have been hit by the car. The police officer yelled at the man who was driving the car and the man apologized to both of us.
I thanked him profusely for saving my life and my legs before we parted ways. They say talking to strangers can get you into trouble, but this time it actually got me out of trouble!