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I’m Back (Finally)

January 23, 2014

I relax in a plastic chair on a third floor gallery in the sultry stillness of the Port au Prince afternoon.  The city is a heady brew of sound—conversation, laughter and singing rising from the street and spilling through glassless windows, Haitian music booming from cranked up radios, the crowing of free-roaming roosters, and the barking of quarrelsome dogs.  The air smells of smoke and dirt, overlaid with cooking odours.  Vehicles wend their way between others parked willy-nilly on either side of the street, then slow to a crawl to traverse the drain cut through the patch of concrete at the intersection, lurching violently as wheels drop into the gutter and then clamber out.


As the tropical light begins to fade, a cooling breeze arises, rustling through the palms and stirring up swirls of dust that dance down the knobbly street.  The colourful houses melt into the gathering darkness save the few with thrumming generators.  A pool of light halos a tiny kiosk—a rough table spread with the standard wares, a tattered tarp held up on unpeeled poles for daytime shade.  Suddenly the neighbourhood lights up and the generators die; the city’s capricious power system once again enlivens the rats’ nests of wires of assorted sizes that crisscross the street.


Serenaded by cicadas, we sup on chicken, fried plantains and pikliz, and catch up on each other’s news.


I am back in Haiti.

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