Thursday 27 February 2014

the haze of yesterday

The strangeness of each minute, every novel sound and arresting smell . . these have all receded.  Now I look through a familiar window, out onto English trees and green grass and watercolour skies and wonder was it all real, did it really happen, were those colours really there?  Where did I exaggerate - what did I corrupt?  I haven't slept for 29 hours and so my tired mind distorts certainty and my memory is blurry.  I know it all happened, though - was danger ever really snapping at our ankles?  The long flight home like caged animals - the strict conventions of flying; one seat, one corridor, one loo.  Contrasted by the infinite possibilities that came with each day in Haiti.

Images of bright colour and dry earth are all there in my mind when I summon them.  It's not that hazy.  I can see a shack on a crooked hill made of tin and timber.  The blue is flat with one cloud.  The heat is blistering and I am out of place.  They all stare at blanco and so I'll never fit in.

That strange and struggling place continues without me.  I just watched a performance, that's all, shuttled in and wheeled out, and now the show goes on every day and night, repeat performances and new productions.  I tried to make myself important by clapping loudly and cheering them on.  I tried to write some clever review but, really, I did precious little for them, they did much more for me.

And now I count the cost.  The things I take and give are odd concepts of what I think they lack and need.  And if I gave just my time, gave myself would that be meaningful to them?  What was it all for - would I do it all again?  There are vast treasures and profound simplicities in Haiti; do they really have precious little?  And my own motives and desires are too complex to know what I want from Haiti next time - I hope it will evolve and I hope it will mature.  Could I live there indefinitely and what for?  Is it enough that I love the place and love its people?  Need I ask any more?

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