October 1, 2019
I am writing today from Jean Bellune, a small rural community about a 2-hour drive from Jeremie. I felt I had to leave Jeremie with all the demonstrations happening, because they make life so much more difficult. At the moment of this writing every town is “blocked”; that means it is almost impossible to go from one town to another. We have now had almost 2 weeks of continuous demonstrations with no end in sight. There is still no gas, water is becoming scarce, and the general feeling of unease is widespread. Nobody is sure about how this will all end. Basically it is war out in the streets of the larger cities. Fr. Rick Frechette, a good friend of mine, and a man who has lived and worked in Haiti for 32 years, had his truck burnt because of a false rumor. There is no government, and gangs are filling the void.
I have learned a lot during this whole period, and realize how Haitians live from crisis to crisis, and they adapt their lives around the crisis and learn how to manage life in crisis. Even though, it is extremely difficult. In the midst of crisis, it can seem that the future is impossible. It can seem like the crisis will last forever, as if we are stuck in it. “We live in a world of oppressive forces, and these forces are not going to go away easily or any time soon. And yet it remains possible to imagine, to hope for a future without crisis, a future in which we can live. The paths to these futures are all around us. They’re in the gardens, in the valleys, where the peasants live. They are in the terraces in the mountains where they grow food.”
Haitians feel powerless in the face of oppressive forces, and yet they keep going. That is what living with constant crisis is like. It is just what we are living now.