As we drive or crawl through the city streets we once again are treated to the most amazing street fair you have ever seen. People set up their sidewalk and street shops anywhere and everywhere. Everything under the sun is sold, some used some new. We see fruits and vegetables, clothes, radios, cell phones, old shoes, hand bags, charcoal, tires, iron works, lumber, auto repair, motorcycle parts and on and on and on. The streets are full of life and you know Haiti is alive even as we see the problems, the people believe in today. They are a vibrant and resilient people. They walk upright and proud.
On our first visit to PAP in March 2011 a mere 14 months after the devastating earthquake of January 2010, we were overwhelmed by the number of tents that created villages where none previously existed. Everywhere there was open space became a tent city. This time it is different. Tents are still abundant however from our recollection the numbers of tents have decreased dramatically. That is good news for Haiti and for the Haitians. Can you imagine what the temperature is inside one of those tents on a typical 90 degree day with high humidity. It is wonder that people actually survived in these temporary habitats. The next thought is how did they survive the rainy season in these tents? The monsoons come often to Haiti and no one and no structure, especially the tents, get by unscathed by mother nature. The newly created walkways and streets created by the mass of tents become rivers polluted with debris and trash and raw sewage and only God knows what else. Somehow the people survive. All in all it is good news. There are fewer tents and one only hopes this means that things are ever so slowly returning to normal. We ask where the people have gone that used to live in the tent cities and once again we get very little information. Maybe some have gone back to the farms in the country and maybe some have found more permanent structures in which to live. We really don’t know and we can only ponder the thought.
(to be continued)
-Mission Haiti Committee