So as I've mentioned in my last couple of posts, we are in lockdown status here in Haiti. Yesterday we had a half day of school - the first this week - but today we are out again, due to huge protests that are supposedly going to take place. Protesters are marching in the streets with the goal of getting the current president to resign. In the process there has been a lot of burning and looting and general chaos. Plus, the whole country has basically shut down; people aren't going to work or school, and we're all waiting to find out what happens next.
We've been attempting to continue classes by using various online tools, and in some ways I feel as though I am just pretending things are normal. For example, today is the due date for final copies of all writing in my middle school classes, and I'm trying to stick to the due date. What that means is that I'm sitting in my classroom on the almost abandoned campus, because our internet at home isn't working. (Haiti runs on imported fossil fuel. There are fuel shortages. Nothing is working correctly.) It doesn't matter; I'm still reading students' work and putting down grades. Better to grumble under my breath about punctuation errors than about things falling apart around me.
On Wednesday, when the internet was working, I was texting with C., a friend here in Haiti. (She's also in my writing group.) I told her I was getting frustrated with life in lockdown. She suggested that I make something. She said she'd made bread and kombucha, and was feeling much better as a result. I told her I'd make a poem, and she agreed that would probably work, too. Then she added, "You are required to use these five random words in your poem. And yes, your final grade will be affected."
The words she gave me? Lilac, popcorn, domino, traffic, trampoline.
I wrote my poem. I sent it to C., remarking that only I could take those words and still wind up with an emo poem, however nonsensical. She read it to her preschooler, who giggled. I giggled too, and life felt better.
My heart is like a trampoline,
You bounce with hob-nailed boots.
The dominoes all topple
As though they were in cahoots.
The air smells sweet, of lilacs,
with popcorn undertones,
And here comes lots of traffic
to break my fragile bones.
So here I am grading, and C. has promised to give me another five random words the next time I need them. Life's as normal as I can make it at this moment.
Here's today's roundup.
4 hours ago