It poured hard early on. The anticipated down pour at dawn rocked my frail tent like a bucket of hail or a barrage of barrel-sized buckshot crashing down on a hot tin roof on a dusty, summer day.
I tossed then turned and rolled as much as my sleeping pad could take. Then I popped out, greeted by wetness that made me feel freshly renewed, the aroma of spring, soaked wood chips, like a tropical waterfall amidst a rich, thriving rain forest in the middle of some Caribbean isle, no where close to man.
Back home, the weather is warming drastically, around the tidal basin the first buds of cherry blossoms are popping, their eyes gleaming -- a welcomed harbinger of spring. baseball and half smokes roasting. Here in Haiti, the woesome rains bring clean water for washing, for drinking, to cool off the sweatness after a long day of hectic heat and harsh, muddy humidity. But in conjuction with the rains come the deluge, the dreaded diseases, the dawn of a new season of harsh, bitter realities.
From patty to patty, block to block, pityful tent city to supposed village, corner upon blunted corners, people are spread out in all shapes and directions wherever existence will allow it to thrive. They are utterly surviving on the streets not even a blanket to cover their souls from the torrential downpours, but perhaps a tattered piece of canvas strewn together by some duct tape or jagged pieces of wood or anything that closely resembles a possible solution or a cure. Here in Port-au-Prince, anything goes. A tarp tied together with rigid pieces of PVC molded in the shape of a shelter becomes suddenly a marvel of 21st century engineeering. Here in this country of dread and destruction, improvisation takes a new name, resources clawed out of dumpsters and trash from supposedly middle-class denizens, suddenly becomes something to sit on, something to put on, something to make life better to see yet another hopeful sunrise, another bitter sunfall.
And the rains bring not only flooding, they don't just wash away the only pieces of shelter they hold dear to their name. The rains brings diseases, of all types ever imagined or wanting to forget. Dysentery, Typhoid, Malaria. Those who were fortunate to survive the earthquake, those who lived to bury their dead may be faced with another calamity of epic proportion later this spring. The torrid rainy season will bring days, nights, sleepless weeks of rain to the tippy point of desperation that even the beating sound of barrels of fist against a strained canvas tarp will be endearing sound compared to the brush of torrid downpour or horizontal rain at the edge of a Haitian horrid nightmare.
Suddenly and dramatically, like a bases loaded walk at the bottom of the 9th innning, the skies stopped pouring overtaken by the freshness of a rich dew drop on a fresh spring petal, a hustle of honeybees buzzing and stirring with glee; even the tatterred sun took an occassional peek through a musky cloud cover offering hope, new life, happiness for humanity, but not for all. Around the campground, a bold rooster cranked its rich, deep horn, signaling to the rest of the world that the night had drawn and it was now time to start a new day and earn a day's wages, even in a city where work was almost non existent, even living was day by day.