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Tounen Lakay

January 20, 2010

I walked to my uncles’ house today.  Along the way I was breathing in the debris of broken homes and the death and destruction still in the air and in sight.  I walked past L’eglise St Gerard where decomposing bodies were swollen, reminding me that it is day 8.  I’m writing and my heart is light.  I’m listening to The Caribbean Sextet, Tounen Lakay (going back home).  This blog is not about me but I cannot express how healing and grateful I am to have come back.  Amidst all of the destruction I am consoled by the Haitian mountains that I can no longer see without the haze of debris.  I don’t know what any day forward brings but I know that I am here and I am consoled.  I am here and I am compassionate, I am here and I am safe.  I am here and I understand what many back home do not have the opportunity to understand; yet they understand in their hearts.  This event was a call to home that has been overdue.  I have been planning to come home despite the fact I just spent an entire summer here.  When I arrived Richard Morse said, “So this is what it took to get you back.”  There was no reply, just a warm stare of understanding the love for Haiti.  I remember walking down the streets of NYC listening to Haitian music and pretending that I was still in Haiti.  Closing my eyes whenever I could, remembering the smell of Haiti and the ambiance in every sector- up north, in Kenscoff, Gonaives, and of course Port au Prince and all its parts.  Well, I am here.

L’eglise St Gerard suffered a lot of damage and is no longer the place where you would here parishioners singing just about every day of the week.  Today, bodies are strewn about everywhere for onlookers to remind them of this catastrophe.  Their clothes were torn and over stretched by the bloating that occurs with decomposing bodies.  Faces were unrecognizable, and limbs were stretched as if they were reaching for someone to help.  Perhaps they are speaking for the people up in the hills asking for help.  Perhaps they are serving a purpose and are symbols of the lack of aid that has reached these parts.  Smelling death is not enough.  The corpses lay on the side of the road to remind us that we are in the belly of the beast.  Again, as I started my walk, a young man yelled out to me saying “fok ou gen ke pou al la wi”  (you have to have the heart to go past this point).  If that is not a message that we have not seen any aid than I don’t know what is?

I spent some time talking to my family members in Carrefour Feuilles.  The elders and the children were there but the others went to the marche, places where people sell food on the street.  God bless the marche- we would be going hungry without them.  Those in the house told me about how they sleep and where they sleep.  One of my aunts cannot make it to the floor so she sits in a chair all day while her feet rests on another.  She sleeps this way waiting for aid.  Another elder looks a lot worst than she did the first day that I visited and found them alive.  She said no words today.  She just sat slumped over in a chair, without the energy to lift her head too high.  Deterioration is what that is called.  The elders and the children will deteriorate if aid doesn’t make it up the hills.  Ayiti means mountainous region, and so the world should understand that the victims of this catastrophe are beyond the view of CNN on Champs Mars.

“K’em kontan, mwe tounen lakay”

“My heart is happy that I have come back home”

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. alexandrianyc permalink
    January 21, 2010 1:23 am

    This is a very moving entry and your words and documentation of this time will now be forever remembered. Thank you.

    • dmargjean permalink
      January 21, 2010 3:26 am

      I agree, it’s truly beautiful how you captured your experience, its truly home!! Most importantly, humanitarian support is needed, perhaps the diaspora’s need to shake things up on the brooklyn bridge again and demand immediate action.

  2. January 21, 2010 4:36 pm

    I want to encourage & give you strength. Know your words are like ripples and there many of us whom aren’t resting til we create change and restore the land in any way we can. We’re reading, so please keep the blog going. http://www.allforhaiti.org check us out, I’m also going to reach out to my press contacts to promote your blog. Jennifly told me about you 🙂

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