Haiti report 1: The Punishing Rain


A clammy heat that clings to your skin, a blazing sun that withers you to the core, I”m at the Télecom sans Frontières tent to send the latest news to CARE”s network. At the entrance, an alert announces that a storm system has formed from the ensuing rains and unfavorable winds in the Caribbean area. We have been following the weather development since yesterday, which we hope will not announce its lot of torrential showers on the country.

When I see the state of the streets in Gonaives – the upside down cars coated in thick layers of dirt, the mounds of rubble, the heaps of stones and wreckage, the broken branches mixed in thick layers of mud that are starting to harden; the thousands of rocks scattered on what was once a road, the disemboweled walls…When I see these stagnant waters, in which the city”s inhabitants flounder; this water which doesn”t know where to flow since the canals are still blocked; when I see this city, which appears all right, exit an atomic war, I dare to imagine how it could endure another passing of bad weather.

Haiti report 1: The Punishing Rain image 1
©2008 Loetitia Raymond/CARE

It”s the end of summer - normal it”s so hot. It”s also the season when tropical storms have their habit of striking. It is very hard to distribute food in such heat. That”s why CARE starts its food distributions at 7 a.m., before the sky”s inferno starts to consume the hundreds of women awaiting their food rations. Thankfully, the distributions take place quickly; the teams are well run. With no crowding or scrambling, the women present their identification card, give their signature, take their rice, beans, and oil, and leave - in a matter of minutes.

Haiti report 1: The Punishing Rain image 2
©2008 Magalie Benjamin/CARE

A muggy heat hangs over Gonaives, the kind that heralds large storms and tropical rains. I look at the sky, and despite the suffocating heat, I hope that this steely sun will continue to hammer my light-colored flesh with its scorching rays, without a single drop of rain coming to disrupt its scorching path. I look at the sky and hope it will continue to dry out this ground, devoured by water. I burn, but for nothing in the world would I want a drop of rain on my skin!

NOTE: I sincerely thank the
fantastic work done by the TSF crews, which make it possible for NGOS,
in times of emergency when communications are cut off, to access the
Internet and thus, carry on with their mission. Without them, I
wouldn”t even be able to send you these words!