It's hard to be in two places at once, your body in one and your heart in the other. I know something about this already because I'm a TCK. For TCKs, there's always somewhere to miss. But now I feel this with a new intensity. I need to be where I am, for my children, but I want so much to be there, in Haiti, for my husband and my students and my friends.
It is impossible not to wonder about places and what has happened to them. Today I started to do some Googling and found out some things I didn't really want to know. Of course places are not as important as people, and we grieve most for the human lives lost and changed forever. But there are also some places I loved that I wanted to know about.
Apparently some people think that Port-au-Prince wasn't much to start with, but it had many beautiful buildings in it and one of those was the Episcopal Cathedral, Sainte Trinité. What I loved most about it were the murals on the walls, scenes from the Bible set in a Haitian context. Jesus' Triumphal Entry into - not Jerusalem, but Port-au-Prince. The Wedding at Cana with women in the background hanging up laundry and pigs running around. Here is a photo of the crucifixion mural. This blog post contains some before and after photos of the cathedral.
Here's an article about the main art museum in Port-au-Prince, and here's a report from the ICOM (International Council of Museums on the state of other museums.
Shortly after the quake I got an email about damage to libraries throughout the city, including priceless collections from the early years of Haiti, some dating back to the 16th century. An organization called Bibliothèques sans Frontières is trying to offer aid to help with this. I haven't ever been to most of the libraries listed in the email, but the loss of documents and history and books makes me sad.
I found this post about what happened to the Cyvadier Hotel in Jacmel, where we spent many happy days.
None of these places, I repeat, is as important as the loss of human life, but to put it in perspective, imagine the National Cathedral in Washington DC leveled, the Smithsonian gone, the Library of Congress destroyed. Think of the place you last had a vacation, half fallen.
And then imagine being a thousand miles away, wondering and looking for photos, hoping you'll see that everything is all right, and then finding out that it's really not.
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