Port au Prince, Haiti Day 10

Its the morning of my 10th day here. I depart tomorrow for the DR and a week + at home, to return here next week. I am noticing a strong pull not to go. Some of the people I have been working with cried when I told them I had to go home and tend to things there for a few days. “But when you’re here we can talk, we can let these things out, we can say whatever we want to say.”

I am not fond of generalizing, and, having worked in community mental health here for many years, I have never heard so many heartfelt requests for “psychology” or “ti conse” (a little counseling). Haitians are resilient; they are accustomed to extreme challenges and to not only “mache” (moving on”), but laughing, dancing, finding the grace to accept big hardships.

This time, the fear is overwhelming. We had an aftershock Thursday night that I experienced like ghosts knocking quickly around the walls of my room. Very loud. Downtown, they felt the earth shaking again, and were terrified. Many of yesterdays sessions focused on “how do we move on, how do we lose this fear, when the earth keeps trembling?” “WHEN IS THIS GOING TO BE OVER?” Each day, more pieces of bodies fall out of the debris being moved, resignation that some loved ones bodies will never be found. Another after shock, another building that teeters on the edge of a hillside appears closer to falling. Many people still await tents, daily access to food and water, latrines. “Port a podies” (however that’s spelled) have begun appearing near the camps; supplies are moving and getting put, and, the need is massive.

There are moments of hope. The man who lost his children and never recovered their bodies slept, even after the aftershock, from 10pm-530 am. Another began singing to his child at night, and they found themselves singing and dancing with others camped around them. He told me this: “Mizik mache nan san.” “Music walks in your blood..in other words, it moves your soul.

“That’s how I am going to maintain hope.”

I learned another Haitian proverb yesterday from someone who tries to do one small helpful thing each day, to see something be “a little bit better”.

Ou pa fe omelet san kaze ze.
You cannot make an omelette without breaking an egg.
Posted In: 2010-2015, Blog, Haiti. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.