Monday, June 06, 2011


It has been raining in Port-au-Prince as long as anyone can remember. Well, at least since last Wednesday. It is overcast, gloomy, gray, and miserable. The furniture feels damp to the touch. The forecast calls for rain through this coming Wednesday, too. Ugh.

Here's a poem I wrote back in November 2007 after a similar rainy period when we didn't see the sun for days. The first thing everyone in our neighborhood did after the sun came back was laundry.

November 2, 2007, Port-au-Prince, Haiti

After a week of rain
The clothes come out to sunbathe.
On roofs, on bushes
On clotheslines,
They luxuriate,
Enjoying the warmth:
Pink, lacy Sunday dresses,
School uniforms,
Shirts and skirts and trousers,
And blushing underwear.
After a week of rain
It feels good to stretch out in the sun,
Freshly laundered,
Ready for service again.

Ruth, from

I hope we'll soon see everybody's laundry all over, since that will let us know that the sun is back.

Of course, my ongoing refrain is, "At least I don't live in a tent." I can't imagine how much more miserable this weather must be for the tent-dwellers in the city, whether it's 375,000 or 680,000 of them. Most of the tents I see are no longer very waterproof; you can often see big holes in them. These tents were not designed for constant use for going on 17 months.

Having said that, you would think I wouldn't have the gall to complain about anything at all, but I am going to complain, just a tiny bit. I hope my readers will indulge me.

We had a transformer blow-up late last week, and the electrician who came over said that 160 volts of power were coming into the house. That would explain the smell of burning as two surge protectors bit the dust. It would also explain why we have no city power even though the people across the street, who have their own transformer, do.

I haven't complained about electricity in a while on my blog. I used to complain about it all the time, especially before I had been so open about my location. I feel that Haiti gets enough negative press and I don't like giving it more, so since I have now whined, I will tell you that EDH (Electricité d'Haïti) is working hard for everyone to have electricity! Here are two of the billboards in the current advertising campaign:

This one says: "Together, let's work for a country that's all lit up." (Or maybe even better: "an enlightened country.") Then at the bottom it says, "Haitians and EDH are working together to give more people more electricity."

And this one says: "EDH is working to give more people more electricity." (Literally, it's lifting its foot.) "More electricity = more work. More light = more opportunity. Let's start working for a different country where everyone has electricity.")

I couldn't agree more! Let's!


Janet said...

Love that poem! Here in my neighborhood I demur from hanging out blushing underwear, but sometimes the other clothing does take on a life of its own in the wind.

Jessica said...

oh no, sorry to hear. I hope everybody works together and you get electricity again soon!