Tuesday, June 17, 2014

[Travel Journal] Haiti | Day 2

[June 10, Tuesday | 6:55 am]  Been awake for a while.  People, bustle, the road, chickens.  Lots of chickens. And one rooster who I'm sure thinks he holds the responsibility of waking up this side of the planet.  Well done, good and faithful servant.

[2:35 pm]  SWEAT.  Siesta after another delicious meal from Laura.  We ventured out of the gate and headed to the school where the 5 oldest kids go.  Marco would tell me when it was safe to bring out my camera.  We passed a couple churches, even if the main practice is voodoo.  Charles said they originally started at a different orphanage; already established. 
"...things were God-centered until the caretaker planned to heal a sick child by having them drink fresh blood from a dove."  
There's a lot of that; blending of voodoo practices and Christianity.  That's when they started their own orphanage from the ground up.

We walk past all the street vendors under lean-tos and pitched tarps (many are USAID tarps from the earthquake 4 years ago).  Some take shelter from the heat under their display tables.  Occasionally, a moped will speed down the road with a patron on the back—or it'll be a tap-tap (public transport; essentially a pick-up with a brightly painted truck-bed cover and benches.)   And there's a heartbreaking over-population of skinny, mangy dogs. 

We pick our way either to the side, steering clear of the grey water flowing down to wherever.  Sometimes a soul pushes a broken broomstick down the street gutter to gather the trash elsewhere. 

If they don't see white faces often, they most definitely don't frequent Asian ones.  Lots of stares galore from the room window—they obviously have different standards of social propriety.  
"No shame in gathering and holding a mass, minute-long gaze.  
*Awkward turtle*"

We wait in the cage, on display until our kids get on break.  We can't film in the classes; we're too distracting.  We can see crowded benches and uniform colors past dilapidated brown wood for chalkboards, but that's about it.  Maybe a cloth or tarp here and there to divide "classrooms."

All of a sudden my legs get attacked; the kids were on break.  Jasmine had crawled under the table to get to me first, and we were bombarded by the rest just seconds after.  I'm a little taken aback by how quickly the kids ran to me.  Again, much like the Marshallese, it saddens me to think of them getting used to attaching and detaching to inconsistency quickly.  We get the shots we need, and head back.

Interviews were filmed on the back porch—my batteries aren't lasting long.  Marco hooks it up to a deep-cell battery and an inverter.  Resourceful.

We head out of the compound again, this time to Marco's parents' house.  Through some tent dwellings and a labyrinth of concrete and crumbling cinderblock, up a long hill, tripping or sliding into the gutter water (ick), we make it up more stairs to an incredible view of the harbor, contrasted greatly with the residual earthquake damage in the foreground.  

Marco's mom, sick with fever, still smiles and sits up to greet us.  She sits like a royal matriarch in a light peach-walled outdoor hallway, enclosed with blowing white curtains that show glimpses of the ocean.  The breeze is strong enough up here to shrink her space with the windsail-ed curtains, but she doesn't mind, and kisses her greetings to her son.

I'm taken up to the half-finished top floor.  Eventually they want to rent it out for more income, but they ran out of money before it could get done.  We visit on a lower level and I see further into the daily lives of everyday Haitians.  Tarps for a ceiling, held high by a breadfruit and coconut tree.  Phone numbers scrawled on cinderblock to remember.  Plastic chicken buckets pot all sorts of growing plants.

The earthquake was strong everywhere, so a lot of people lived in tents even if their house was still standing out of fear the aftershocks would finish the job.  Marco and his family of 8 were part of that group.

Now it's after lunch; resting during the hottest part of the day. Soooo much sweat!  By the way, I'm starting to learn a couple names.  Franceline is the newest addition.  She's three, a product of rape, and still has yet to make herself at home here.  When I aim the camera at her, she cries and picks up her chair to move away to the corner.  That's enough to deflate an ego, but forgiveness comes easily when you see the amount of medication she's on.  She's still sick; they're trying to figure out a new diet to see if she's got a food allergy.  Crezou is the oldest boy at 11.  Already can see his responsibility.  Schneider is a ball of mischievous trouble and the camera loves him :)

[5:26 pm]  Can eyeballs swell from sweat?  

Something odd's going on with my eyes and they wake up swollen.  And I never thought I could sweat between my fingers just by taking a nap.

[11:38 pm]  Set up shots with the kids and got most of the shot list taken care of.  Supper was fresh french fries.  Apparently they'd made more food for us after supper last night, but we'd already gone to bed.  Haha, I hear it's not the first time this has happened.  They got the generator going so the wifi worked and I could post a picture telling everyone I was alive.  I want to help raise money for a generator.  I think it'd be possible.  

At the school
Marco interview

Franceline showing her distaste of the camera in typical fashion.  Wail. Drag chair. Find corner far away.
 It's not uncommon to see mothers as young as 8 and 9; victims of rape. (Reenactment)

Crezou and Cedric begging reenactment.  It's what they did until they came to the orphanage a year and a half ago.

Working—getting audio at the quietest time: night, in the basement.

All of dear little Franceline's medications.
Crezou, 11.


  1. I like your SM shirt.
    Also I like the good you are doing.
    Keep it up.

  2. Beautiful photos!
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