A few days in lockdown: standing on the roof of the base watching plumes of smoke from burning tires, hearing accounts of unsettled rock throwing groups in normally sedate Leogane; the tales from Port-au-Prince much more severe. And all of a sudden, today, the markets reopen, traffic is again flowing, and optimism is in the air. It seems that Haitians are accustomed to these difficult times, and know that a few days’ unrest, the vast majority of which is non-violent, makes their point loud and clear, then normal routines can resume. Two of the staff drove today from Leogane to Carrefour, the city immediately west of the capital of Port-au-Prince, and saw traces of 90 roadblocks in the mere 25 kilometer drive. Rows of rubble, steel strands from burnt tires, ashes of timbers- all being swept away by happily waving citizens.
A day ago I considered it a good possibility that I would not be boarding a flight back home to Canada on Tuesday, instead thinking about a good place for a Christmas tree on base. And now, I am joining twenty other volunteers in a convoy of SUVs to Port-au-Prince early tomorrow morning. We’ll be staying at the base of another NGO called Grass Roots United, their base conveniently located a 30 minute walk from the airport. In the case that Monday brings renewed unrest, I will at least be in a position to get on that flight. I’ve now hurriedly and happily packed my bags; this evening equally hurriedly and happily saying goodbye to the many newfound friends. I’ll have a few “debrief” blog posts once I’m back in the Great White North.
A pi ta, Haiti! (See you later!)