Monday, March 1, 2010
Food Drop: Part Two
As we are lumbering, slamming, jolting down the unpaved road in this bus I also noticed that there is a six inch hole around the gearshift and I can clearly see the transmission spinning and the road whizzing below. I thought about what type of metal would come flying up into the bus if Oliver, our driver, didn’t navigate around a deep pot hole.
Out on Highway 1 towards Titiyen, we pulled off on the side of the road when we saw this tent city. I sat in the bus with the rice and our Haitian friends, Oliver and Maxim, while the rest of our team went to talk to the leaders of the tent city.
From my view on the road above the city I could see all sticks and bed sheets that make up this community. Like so many forts little kids make out of blankets and couch cushions. But these didn’t hold kids playing, they held families. It was picturesque in a perverse sort of way, these rudimentary homes against low brown hills of Haiti.
What looked like chaos from the road was actually semi-organized on the ground. This tent city had an informal leadership that quickly formed up 3 lines just next to their church that was made of blue tarps and crude benches.
We blans stood to the side and let the Haitian community leaders and our drivers pass out the food. A note for any aid workers- it is better if you do not play “White Santa” and hand out goodies. I climbed up on top of the bus and took pictures.
I had mixed emotions about the rain. I know it makes everyone’s life difficult in the tent cities but it also makes the crops grow and replenishes the cisterns. And, selfishly, it feels good. I walked around in the rain with my face to the sky letting the rain soak me. It felt beautiful. I then felt like a selfish jerk because I was taking small joy in something that was soaking people who have already lost everything.
The images of this tent city are burned into my head. They have been some of the most powerful in the last 6 weeks.