This morning I finally made it out of Leogane, to the guest house in Port Au Prince.
The last few days have crippled even more this struggling country.
The air in Petionville felt heavy with tension as UN soldiers marched outside of the grocery store. The usual banter and playfulness of the locals was replaced with small serious groups, gathered on street corners and whispering to each other.
I visited an artist across from the city square this morning to pick of a painting that he had done for me. When I arrived the normally bustling street was empty. There was no colorful art hanging on the wall, instead on the sidewalk were the charred remains of canvases and frames. Thony told me that the protesters had come and set fire to all of his artwork. His eyes filled with tears as he told me over and over again “it was my entire life, my whole business and now it’s all gone”.
Today it has been 11 months since the earthquake. I have no idea when we went from 10 weeks to today. On January 12th Haitians gasped for breath. It seems since that day they have been left waiting. Waiting for promised help to come, waiting for hurricanes to pass, waiting in line to be seen by a doctor, waiting for the promise that this election could bring. A person can only hold their breath for so long, can only be pushed so far, before they can’t take it anymore.
When you go to a grocery store or market in Haiti the idea of a line is a bit blurred. Often times what defines how long you wait is how hard you are willing to push to get to the front or how loud you are willing to speak to drown out everyone else. You learn to do what you have to do, to have your voice heard. Now pushed to the brink people are doing what they have been forced to do because it’s the only way anyone will listen.
I don’t think it’s right, I wish there was another way but the reality is this… if Haitians weren’t reacting the way they are right now, would anyone care? If they didn’t stand up would anyone notice the way they were living. If they weren’t screaming at the top of their lungs, would anyone listen? The answer isn’t simple, it’s heartbreaking and the truth is, lives are shattered every day that they wait and they can only wait so long.