Thursday, September 6, 2012

Isaac's wake

Hurricane Isaac was kind to us. The worst damage I saw was to a little tent city where some organization had donated what looked like cardboard mini-houses. They were all ripped to pieces by the time the storm passed. An outer wall on my street in Delmas 91 was knocked down by the wind and the St. Joseph's roof lost some of its tin.
In Jubilee, there were strong winds and rain during the storm, but no real damage. We do collect water in the spaces between the school, clinic and houses, but it's been slowly drying up.

The funny part is that the farmers near Gonaives actually wanted Isaac to come and they were disappointed that it didn't bring more rain. The river that runs outside Gonaives is the primary source of irrigation for fields of rice, corn, millet, bananas, eggplants, Haitian sweet potato, watermelons, sugar cane, and lots of other fruits and vegetables. Usually at this time of year, the river is a rushing force to be reckoned with, easily channeled into ditches that drain into the fields. Not this year, though. This year, we haven't had enough rain so it's low and slow flowing. In a few areas, it's almost completely dry. 
Enoch, the farmer that I made friends with on my last bike ride to the river, told me that this happens every few years. "We won't get our harvest this year," he said sadly. "We're going to have a rough year." Like most people who meet me, he asked what I could do to help them. That's the white person's job, you know, to solve anything going wrong in Haiti. I was pleasantly surprised at his reaction to my answer. When I told him that the best I could do was pray for the rain, he smiled, shook my hand and thanked me. "Come visit us here again, Miss!" he called, as I biked away.

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