Wednesday, September 10, 2008

When the possible proves impossible

In a previous post, Ben mentioned this comment made by our Kreyol teacher: Haiti is a place where the possible is impossible, but the impossible is possible. We're thinking about that as our simple plans for the week become unfeasible.

We were supposed to leave Port Au Prince on Saturday to spend a final week of orientation visiting MCC's reforestation project in Desarmes. This changed when Hanna washed out several major bridges between here and the Artibonite valley. It's not possible to travel there overland (which, incidently, is making it difficult for the UN and other relief NGOs to access the severely flooded area in and around Gonaives).

We thought that instead we'd spend the week moving into our apartment, or maybe even start work. As it turns out, my office is moving and not ready for me to start work for at least another week. Ben's boss is attending a conference in the States. And negotiations for our apartment were complicated when the landlord - who lives in Miami - decided to rent out the aparment below ours, and so has no place to move his oversized furniture. A few solutions have been presented, including - and I'm still not clear on how this would solve the furniture issue - sharing our bathroom with the person that would live in the shed that the landord intended to build on our terrace. What?! Needless to say, negotiations are still in process...

We're still at the MCC guesthouse in Port Au Prince. We're taking two hours of Kreyol everyday, doing our own grocery shopping and cooking, dealing with the crashed hard drive on our laptop, getting accustomed to hearing gunshots at night and learning our way around the city. We've gotten cell phones and opened bank accounts. Tomorrow we apply for our residence permits.

Haitians like to tell a joke about hurricanes that goes something like this: When hurricanes come, they see Haiti, say, "Oh I've already been here" and turn around to leave. But unfortunately, the devastated state of the Haitian coast did not deter Hurricane Ike. Sunday was just another rainy day here in Port. But Ike hit hard in the same area that was affected by Hanna. Here's a fairly sensational description of Ike, as per the Associated Press:

"In flooded Haiti, Ike made an already grim situation abysmal.

At least 58 people died as Ike's winds and rain swept the impoverished Caribbean nation Sunday. Officials also found three more bodies from a previous storm, raising Haiti's death toll from four tropical storms in less than a month to 319...

Haiti's coastal town of Cabaret was particularly hard hit — 21 victims were stacked in a mud-caked pile in a funeral home there, including two pregnant women, one with a dead girl still in her arms."

No comments:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...