5 May 2014

Le Premier Fois



I once read somewhere that, upon being asked to describe the landscape of Haiti, a noted general screwed up a piece of paper and threw it down on a table with great force. "There." As I looked down onto the island's defiant peaks and troughs from above the clouds during this afternoon's flight by way of JFK New York, I could understand why. It was truly a beautiful sight.

I have been gifted with such a variety of 'impressions', despite only being here for a few hours. Chaos at Toussant L'Ouverture Port Au Prince airport. Impossibly rocky and jagged roads. Smooth French and Spanish jazz playing from the car radio on the way to my accommodation. Architectural indications of the earthquake. Young schoolgirls in colourful uniforms navigating around reckless vehicles and street vendors, pigtails adorned with red and pink and blue ribbons. Intricately painted tap taps, each wielding some sort of Christian slogan (one of the more colourful buses boldly stated "J'adore Dieu / I love Jesus"). Creole delivered at 100 miles per hour. Some of the friendliest people I've ever met. More (fractured) French spoken by me in one hour than I would usually speak in one year. Rice and peas, sweet potato chips and beef steak. A whirring generator. Laughter. Difference. Commonality.

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