Friday, March 18, 2011

While Scrambling toSurvive, Haiti's on Hold.

This week in Haiti has gone so fast that the stories will have to be
written in America—and oh, there are stories. All in all, it
was….just So Haiti. So difficult—no day has gone anything like
planned, but a series of adaptations, Plan A to Plan B to Plan….oh,
maybe F….but things have gotten done.
Eat Here, Now. At one of our pink-jeep mobile clinics, a half-grown
rooster wandered into t he bench-waiting area. When we packed up to
go home, not only did we have 3 large gourd-like fruits the size of
soccer balls in the jeep (Ronel found them somewhere, but I don’t
know if he eats them or makes bowls out of the shells), but one of the
midwives had the rooster, feet tied, under her arm in a plastic bag.
As we came into town, the “poule” was handed to her husband for
tomorrow’s dinner.
I walked with Brother Mike down by the river, and saw the
sand-collecting industry down there. Guys get a big plastic bucket,
wade in chest-deep, and start filling their bucket underwater with
sand from the river bed. Then they haul it up to the bank, and dump
it, bucket by bucket, til they have a pile that’s the right size to
sell. There is a “standard size” pile, apparently. And it sells for
about 250 goudes, or about $6. When sold, it will be collected by an
oxcart, that will pull it into town for road building or concrete and
cement-making. Tough way to make a living.
There is nobody, from the people to the animals, not scrambling as
hard as they can, to survive and get by. Walked on the road through
the town cemetery—many crumbling concrete mausoleums—and saw goats
climbing even on the roofs to eat trash or grass from the roofs. But
the country is basicallystalled and paralyzed until the election is
over. After pretty hard to get an appointment with the “New” minister
of health, I had to change the date. I went back into the office,
prepared to eat some Haitian crow, asi”d been rather insistent on the
first one—the secretary was very pleasant, No Pwoblem, he said, and
gave us a new date. Then he just commented…well, after the election,
he may have a “new positions”, but we’ll see. AHA!!! THIS is why
nobody is staying in town, we can’t get any meetings…nobody really
knows if or what their jobs will be until after the election. What
will the new regime bring?? Haiti is on Hold.
The two political presidential candidates on the ticket for the
“repeat, do-over” election being held this Sunday, both came to town
mid-week. Lots of megaphones, bands, huge crowd in the park…no
trouble, just loud. They were traveling to rallies town-by-town, in
tandem. Now, Aristede is rumored to be returning to Haiti—probably
today, if not last night. Things are heating up, and it’s time for us
to go. Instead of taking our magenta jeep into Port us Prince the day
before the election, and possibly through sizable demonstrations, or
risking canceled flights, we’ve changed flights and are exiting
through the Domincan Republic. LOTS of phone calls led to this
decision, and of course we all want to know “what’s going to happen?”
but the reality of Haiti is what the awesome midwife Beth McHoul, long
time resident of Port au Prince, replied to those kinds of
inquiries—“you just never know!” We’re playing it safe, as I have a
solemn pact with my husband to do—and crossing the border to the DR
early today. When I told our wonderful driver,and oh-so-faithful
staff MFH member, Ronel, he would NOT have to drive a bright pink
jeep with 7 “blancs” through Port au Prince, the day before the
election, with Aristede AND Baby Doc in town…he said “I think this is
a good way.” See you soon—we’re practicing our Spanish!

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