by Schuyler Engel
Mwen rele Syèl.
Given it’s only been a week my Kreyòl is coming along. The translation is: My name is Sky. Actually my name is Schuyler Engel. I’ve traveled here with Chris to do some blogging for the community and to learn Kreyòl. (I’m a social worker in Cambridge, formerly at Cambridge Hospital, and a very large number of my clients have been from Haiti.)
Not the pictures I’d seen nor the words I’d read could have prepared me for what I observed during the 5 days we traveled in Port au Prince and the surrounding areas. And of course this is over 2 months after the quake. People here are so shaken by what they have experienced. It’s all that they want to talk about. They have seen such bloody pain. Some have had to walk away from the sounds of human moans rising muffled from the depths of a concrete pile, helpless without tools or the strength of a thousand. Others watched family die. There are still many without tents using sticks and worn sheets for makeshift lean-2s living on the median strips. The food lines (rice and beans) go on forever with people touching belly to back. It rained last night and all I could think of were all those in mud and no real cover.
Here at Matènwa some houses are down and broken, many are fine and the school has only minor cracks. Nobody has been inside the buildings because on the radio the government announced that no schools were allowed to be in session until a structural engineer inspects their structural integrity. That would be funny if it weren’t so sad. Classes have been held outside, but because of the warnings, many families have been afraid to send their children.
Yesterday during a school community meeting the group sang a lovely song about the earthquake and the devastation. The melody was sweet and sad and hopeful.