Thursday, September 17, 2009
Haitian remembrance: Première partie
Last night I had a flashback to Haiti, the rebellious country of sunlight and poverty stays with me still. I don't think it wants me to forget it and I don't want to because it was so significant to me before, during, and after the whole six month Peace Corps experience.
Transportation in Haiti was at times frightful and at times liberating. One could catch a ride by flagging someone down on the road, jumping in any car. Other times I would be with a group of people standing straight up in an open flat bed truck, holding on for dear life, rocking with all our human bodies thinking when one slips, we all will fall into the hole stricken roads.
Once I was on a windy mountain road journey (the tree barren lands of Haiti are more mountainous than the Swiss Alps) sitting next to the bus driver who was drinking a Colt beer at 11 in the morning. It's early, I told him and he cackled back.
I've recently connected with fellow volunteers. Ben, a great guy, posted a photo (see above) of our volunteer group during our training. The photo was taken on an old school bus we took up the hill to visit a monastery. On our way up, the bus turned into a driveway and then reversed back. Instead of reversing and stopping, the bus continued down the hill backwards. The driver's brakes failing, we rolled down a hill, collected speed and then collided into a tree in front of a small haitian house (thankfully the tree was there or we would have killed someone). There were a few cuts and pinned legs amoung the group. We piled out and walked the rest of the way up. The bus driver still charged us. This was Haiti.
I will always remember the rides, squeezed between smelly arms, holding tight. I remember the people I randomly met, being a white face, being different. I will remember the tap taps (public transportation) and the chickens I shared a ride with and the banging on the side of large vehicles signaling a desire to get off. I wanted to get off, I wanted to leave the island most of the time I was there, but when the time came, when we were forced out because the government fell, when we were told we had to go, I didn't want the ride.
at 5:14 AM