March 29th, 2011
I am back in Port-au-Prince, and this is my first night. It is hard to find the words to express what feelings came rushing through me today. I’ve thought of Haiti almost non stop this last year. Being here is a relief, and I feel free. It’s the same freedom that I felt the first night I smoked a cigarette on the dock in Monrovia. For a non-habitual smoker… some of my finest memories involve burning one.
It’s great to be back, and even better to be alone this time and staying with the Michels. No one is depending on me, and I am responsible for no one… and that makes all the difference. That first trip was foolhardy. But it was what it needed to be.
More than a year has passed since the earthquake. Haiti seems like a very different place. I can feel it. The earthquake obviously made an impact, changed things, but I sense that many Haitians have distanced themselves emotionally from it. Jeanmary partially confirmed this by telling me that most of the people he knows don’t talk about the earthquake much, if at all.
The Michels say that the cholera outbreak is slowing down and is not - and never has been - an issue for most of the city. They say that I am here at a very interesting time; in a couple days the next president will be announced. So far, I keep hearing that Mirlande Manigat is going to win because the government favors her. Jeanmary and Janelle say that most people in Haiti do not like her, and that she has used her money to illegally tilt the odds in her favorite. They think she will win, and that there will be plenty of rioting. Who knows.
We’ll see what actually ends up happening.
I walked around the city tonight on the way back from dinner. We made our way through one of the slums and I was in awe of the atmosphere. This place is darker than I ever imagined; not just a visual darkness… but something else more like a feeling.
I am going to try and sleep now. I am being eaten alive by mosquitoes and can’t concentrate on words anymore.