Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Ravine, Part 1

Yesterday I wrote about the neighborhood around my house church. Today I want to share about what the ravine itself was like.
After lunch with Tim and Carol I went for a walk into the neighborhood behind their house. I had two guides-Keishna, a 14-year-old who moved, along with her mother, brother and sister, onto Tim and Carol's street after 2 of the 4 walls of her home collapsed.  My other guide was Dominique. He is employed by the same mission that runs our church and speaks great English. He is also kinda tough looking. Believe it or not, a decimated ravine community is not always the best place for a blan to wander about.

The community is a maze of narrow walkways and staircases. Keishna navigates them the way I navigate Dallas. She knows every street and everyone- oftentimes on our trip she would stop and talk to former neighbors, asking them how they were doing and letting them know she was taking me "visiting."

We walked up and down staircases past, and some times underneath, leaning buildings. Occasionally Keishna and Dominique would talk for a bit, then Dominique would tell me the important parts of what she said. Like, "4 people died in here. Their bodies are still inside."
Standing among the destruction made me think of what Europe must have looked like after World War 2. Shells of buildings, standing in a sea of rubble. Amongst it all lay signs that life was once lived all over this place- a discarded shoe, a woman's silk blouse.
We walked to a clearing. The taller buildings there all collapsed completely. Keishna and Dominique showed me how the debris is being carried out of this ravine- in empty rice bags. By hand. Dozens sit in a corner, waiting to be carried.
I ask if they are getting any government help clearing all of this, even though I can guess the answer. Dominique does not even bother translating my question. He chuckles at the naivete of it, and says no. We stand in silence for a while, taking in the space.

In the opposite corner is a door bent past 90 degrees. Dominique tells me this was the front door to the house that used to be where we were now standing.
Looking up from where we were, you could see the Heaths' house, identifiable by the coconut tree in its back yard. It stood in stark contrast to everything around us. It is the white house at the very top of this hill.
Next, Keishna turned around and walked toward her home. I will post those photos tomorrow.



  1. Wow. Perhaps this is a dumb question, but do any of those buildings that are still standing have people living in them? Or are people too afraid of them collapsing?

  2. @AnotherTexan Yes, some were living in tents where their homes once stood, or next to their home.

    I will add a few of those pictures to the next post.

    I took over 168 pictures in my two hour walk so I had to decide what to leave out.

    As always thanks for reading and commenting.



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