Thursday, December 9, 2010

Thursday Demonstrations

We heard nothing last night, and woke up without any of the major sound indicators: sirens or helicopters. We walked across the street to campus, re-mounted our stacked picnic table perch, and saw this. Much smaller crowds, a drizzle of rain, but more fire and smoke that yesterday. Our friends who had been looking over to the wall throughout the morning said the crowd seemed angrier. There were no women in it today. There had been some angry responses to the cameras.
Well what do you know! It's our Kreyol teacher Jean, out in the crowd. Jean is photographing the scene with a camera given to him by his buddy Soledad O'Brien from CNN. She met him last spring while filming a documentary featuring the ministry, Child Hope, of our friends the Manasseros.

Jean really saved the day today. Some people yelled and tried to throw rocks at us for looking over the wall and having cameras. Jean went and told the Chef (not a misspelling- Kreyol for chief or boss) that "we were cool", so the Chef let everybody know to leave us alone.
It really struck me that in the midst of all this mess, a woman walked solemnly down the street, her head-basket overflowing with gorgeous bright oranges.
 Notice two things: 1) the man in the red shirt cheering triumphantly as he launched another pair of tires downhill toward the burning roadblock, and 2) the intense deer-blind of branches we've got set up to sneak peeks through.
 Peeking over the wall even closer to the corner. On the right, you can see a dumpster on its side. It is an extremely unnerving sound to hear rocks being thrown into an empty dumpster, or the sound of it dragging. I wince every time someone throws something at it or bangs on it- it sounds like a shot.
From the corner, I could see the police truck roll by. Didn't get involved. I don't blame them.
A friend who had been watching the street all morning said that the crowd had begun to stop cars and motos, asking for gasoline as a toll to pass. The protesters picked up two big sticks (you can see them stacked against the wall on the left, belonging to a business that sells them) and pointed them at a car. And why exactly was this car on the road, or attempting to pass this intersection?
 This is our little perch. Craftily engineered on the fly by two on-campus male teachers. Sweet little Hudson entertains me to no end. We all jumped back up at this point, hearing a lot of yelling all of a sudden. Men were running away from the roadblock, running uphill at top speed. What was going on? Oh, wait.....
 Yesterday UN tanks would roll up the street, only to U-turn at this intersection before the fire and roadblock. Today? Blasted right through it at high speed. It was pretty dramatic. The men all ran away from these two UN tanks, but returned awhile later.

We watched for much less time today than yesterday. The crowds grew smaller, especially when a drizzle turned into a steady rain after lunch.

Our guard Seab, usually on a three-man rotation of shifts, has now been at our gate for 3 days. The other two men can't get here since no tap-tap taxis are running. We're feeding him a steady diet of peanut butter "mamba" sandwiches, Doritos, and Rice Krispy Treats. I feel awful that he's been away from his family for 3 days, but also incredibly impressed with his loyalty, both to his job and us. He reads his Bible and prays out loud for many hours a day.

It's men like Seab who should be on the news, representing their nation to the world, not these rock-throwing teenagers.

Keep on praying for Haiti. Pray for peace. Pray for justice. Pray for the right man or woman to become president, and for Haitians to get a government that serves them efficiently and fairly. Selfishly, pray that the airport opens so we can all get home. Priye pou Ayiti!

Katie

2 comments:

  1. Well, given the U.S. government's propensity to kill or overthrow any reform government that even attempts to move in a direction that is friendly to most Haitians, I don't see much improvement coming. Haitians don't need prayers, they need domestic capital that can help them move beyond the ravages of neo-colonialism.

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  2. I really appreciate reading your up to date blog. I was scheduled to be flying in to PAP this morning with a team of 20 from Oregon. We were going to be working in Fond Parisien about an hour and a half east of PAP, near the DR border. We were going to be working with Haitian Christian Mission doing medical work, food distribution, construction, and a Christmas VBS for the kids. I was there in March, and fell in love with the Haitian people. It breaks my heart to see them in such constant and worsening turmoil. There are many stateside that are praying for them, and I am praying for you guys too! Praying for your safety, and that you can make it home next week.

    God bless,
    Aslan

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