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At the End of the Day

June 14, 2011

The insistent musical tones of my cellphone rouse me from my late afternoon reverie.  A welcome voice is responding to my invitation to supper on Saturday.

The sultry dulcet voice of Joni Mitchell fills the house.  I finally got around to hooking up my laptop to Chris’ stereo and am enjoying the increased volume.  The smells of cooking from the Fox household tell me it is nearing suppertime, but I have no desire to eat.  The chicken, rice and beans, mixed vegetables, bannann fri and pikliz I enjoyed in Port-au-Prince earlier in the afternoon are still with me.

The deep mournful moans from a container ship proclaim its outboard bound movement from Saint Marc harbor.  Suddenly the leaves spring into a frenetic dance and the dying are snatched from the branches by the rising wind.  Thunder rips open the tropic afternoon and the sky spills forth a driving rain.  I scramble to close the jalousie windows on the windward side of the house.  The thermometer plummets to a more comfortable 82°F.  I throw open the leeward door.  It is too late to save the laundry on the line.  No matter.  I draw the exhilarating freshness deep into my lungs.  The balcony is already glistening, washed clean, its bold brushstrokes in apricot and red oxide vibrant.  Colours are always so much richer in the rain.  Satisfied with its initial assault, the wind drops and the rain settles into a warm drencher.

The day was spent with Bryan getting supplies for the mission, an arduous task.  Degage (making do) all over again.  Every time we tried to gather together parts for something, some were unavailable.  So we would go to plan B with similar results.  We were down to about Plan T before we came up with everything we needed.  What we had put together looked quite a bit different from the original plan, but it will work.  I had a chance to check out the city’s grocery stores for the first time, including Petionville’s tony Giant Supermarket.  It has underground parking, an elevator and is air-conditioned.  The coup of the day was finding peanut butter with chilis, a treat I discovered on my first visit to Haiti.  Bryan also took the time to show me a few of the sights of Petionville.  Not all of Haiti is poor.

I love the hustle and bustle of Port’s open air markets and have even developed a predilection for the insanity on its streets.  Bryan made a point of getting me to try some street fare purchased from the vendors who dodge in and out of traffic like the Bombers’ Fred Reid coming through the Lions’ defensive line.   After haggling over the price, Bryan purchased papitas, plantain chips and pistache, a kind of soft peanut brittle.  I loved both.

On the way home Bryan veered off the highway near Archahaie to search out an old Haitian friend, Pastor Morvan.  We visited on his porch, treated to Cokes over ice in authentic Coca-Cola glasses complete with polar bears.  I was able to follow most of the conversation between the pastor and Bryan and even contribute a little bit.  Pastor Morvan told us he is struggling because his principal support has dried up and he has no apparent potential donors.  Bryan explained that this man is of great integrity and is doing excellent work in the area.  Before leaving we prayed over his wife who had recently undergone abdominal surgery and is suffering a great deal of discomfort.

When we got home Bryan proposed a very interesting project that he had discussed with Chris.  We are going to accompany the installation crew, I will photograph the process and the recipient family, and we will interview them.  We will return after the filter has been in use for a while to find out how much impact it has had on their lives.  When I am finished I will post it.

The Haitian night swoops down suddenly and enfolds the country beneath its sooty wings.   The rain has stopped.   Time for me to do likewise.

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