As we walked down the mountain, Richard and I continued to ask each other questions.
I wanted to know more about Haitian culture. Specifically, what nuances about their culture can be oblivious to the untrained eye. I want to do my best to see Haiti like a Haitian.
He wanted to know more about where I live, Oklahoma. Not the most exciting item of discussion, but to each his own.
When the physical layout of the path would allow, he would reach over and hold my hand. Sometimes it was only for a second, while other times it lasted for 10-15 minutes.
The first time a man reaches over to grab your hand as you are walking, it catches you off guard.
About 7 years ago on an earlier trip to Haiti, I got my first experience and cultural lesson in what this actually means.
In Haiti, when you are good friends with someone, it is common to hold their hand as you walk and talk. There are not the usual assumptions like you would have in the states. It is simply a way to show respect and honor. This is a milestone in a relationship.
For a Haitian to hold hands in a public setting with a foreigner shows they have trust in you. I am always honored when this happens.
Down the mountain we climbed, looking at the beautiful scenery around us. All the while talking about the plains of Oklahoma.