I was expecting Haiti to be hard. I had anticipated the signs of struggle – buildings crumbled and cracked, camps constructed out of gray USAID tarps and twine. I accepted the cacophonous noise, the endless heat and exhaust, and the dust that muted the mountains beyond.
I had not anticipated that Haiti would make me feel so much but leave me nearly speechless. I returned over a week ago and I am still at almost a complete loss for words. I guess words don’t seem worthy enough. Words alone can’t do it justice.
To say I had a wonderful time is trite and true. Hazel was an exceptional guide. She is an inspiration. Her friends are delightful. The peanut butter is unparalleled. Everything seems heightened in Haiti – the ocean saltier, the sun hotter, the horns louder, the beat bolder, the road rockier. There is an undercurrent of strength, humming and heaving throughout the day, that’s a constant reminder of Haiti’s tortured history. It seems impossible and all too real at the same time.
I composed this poem tonight, in my search for words. It’s the best I could do. Pictures follow. And you know what they say about pictures…
H is for Haiti
People so poor yet dignified
Shared island, shared moto ride
A fabled history
Tall tales of truth
Dust, sweat, sunshine youth
Blood and bright smiles
Haiti is free
A reminder of our mortality