Wednesday, February 17, 2010

After the Earthquake

February 17, 2010
Port-au-Prince, Delmas, Haiti

I was awoken again in the middle of the night, this time not by the rooster that doesn’t seem to know that it’s NOT morning, but by the silence that ensues when the electricity goes off and the fan, which was circulating air on and around me, suddenly quits. My eyes are open—I think. I can’t quite tell as the darkness here is absolute. I strain my eyes seeking an outline in the dark of the fan or the barred window suggesting a hint of the night sky—but nothing. It’s pitch black. I ponder this strange feeling of being suspended in darkness for a moment. It’s something you never think about. In much of the modern world people are surrounded by light. So much so that it’s impossible to shut it off. Street lights, a neighbor’s house, cars, shops…these are ever-present in our lives. Even shutting these out doesn’t prevent a stray clock display, a charging cell phone, or a computer from giving one’s night surroundings a gentle glow. But, here in Haiti, everything seems to be unplugged.

Without the circulating air courtesy of the fan, I am unprotected from the various bloodsucking insects that thrive in this tropical climate. Though I can’t see or even hear them, I can feel them touching down on my exposed skin for a snack. I cover up and suffer through the stifling heat and the sweat that begins to soak through the sheets. I’m barely able to go back to sleep, but there’s no other choice. When you have no electricity laying in the dark is preferable to sitting in the dark.

I long for morning. I toss and turn. I awake every hour to see if the veil of darkness over Haiti has been lifted. It has not.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hope those insects did not sting you too much... Keep us posted! Agnès