Sunday, April 21, 2013

Ain't No Party Like a Port-au-Prince Party

Robbie, Irene, Tiff, Jarrett, Jill, Josiah, Nathaniel, Ben, and Amber
 A few weeks ago our 3rd grade teacher and Kellyanne had a birthday, and her husband Wilson planned a surprise party for her. It was an extremely rare opportunity to find our campus community dressed up, so natch I took some pictures.

As we are about six weeks from permanently moving away from Haiti, a deep nostalgia has settled on me. These faces (and a few more) are my family in Haiti.

 As we waited for the birthday girl to arrive, I snapped a few shots of the surrounding neighborhood. At sunset, from a fourth-story rooftop, I was reminded of the beautiful/ugly in Haiti. The concrete jungle, the rebar spiking out from unfinished everything, the lush bougainvillea blooms. The mountains are an excellent example: majestic profiles, and yet denuded of trees and covered in precariously-sloped slums. 

 Now let's take a break from nostalgia and waxing philosophic.

Humorous interlude. Comic relief. 

Ben and Jarrett.

 I wonder if I'll ever live in a place with so much natural beauty again? Dallas is my home, and nothing will replace that, but it unfortunately has much to be desired in the "breathtaking natural scenery" department.

I often forget, in the midst of the nasty city, that I live on a tropical Caribbean island.
 Finally our birthday girl arrived, and the DJ kept us singing along.

Six months pregnant and never more beautiful!
 At one point it was just the two of us on the dance floor, swirling and shouting the lyrics to "Hotel California", which, strangely, nobody else seemed to know.

I'm thinking of the the Eagles' lyrics in the climactic final verse describing the mythical hotel:

"Relax," said the night man,
"We are programmed to receive
You can check out any time you want, but
You can never leave."

Is that how it will be, moving away from Haiti?

We will leave Haiti,
but will Haiti leave us?
Can it?
Will we file it away as just a memory, albeit a special one,
something like our honeymoon- thought of fondly but only occasionally?



  1. Please tell me you've read House on Mango Street. We just finished it with my 10th graders, and it has this exact sentiment. "You are Mango. You can't change who you are. You have to leave so that you can come back. For those who are unable to leave." It's a 100-page quick read. Plenty of time in the next 6 weeks.

  2. No, I haven't! It's moved to the top of my reading list. I don't have a copy in my classroom but would really like to- it's on several of the classic reading lists I give my kids. It sounds like the perfect reflection of what I'm feeling. Thanks, Paige.



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