I looked down at the grey powder slowly engulfing my shoes; no doubt by the end of the day I’d be washing it off of my face, out of my eyes and nose and ears, but right now it was still early and the dust had barely progressed beyond the rubber of my soles. The sun felt far off, and the humidity hovered in the sunlight but was only slowly beginning to creep into the cool spaces of the shade.
Even though the streets had been awake for a while now, the morning energy created a sort of calm that went with the cool left over from the night before. Standing on the corner, waiting to load onto the Taptap, I took notice of the people already inside, their clothing still stiff from the wash, unsoftened by the large swaths of perspiration yet to come. Large black SUVs and small beat up cars moved past us, honking lazily, waiting for their turn in the giant game of Tetris being played out in the intersection ahead. A few motos kicked up dust, their engines whirring as they weaved in and out of the moving pieces; still more lined the side of the road, their owners balanced with one foot on the ground and the other kicked up on the front peg, ready for us to abandon the crowded Taptap for the open air and convenience of a moto ride.
As the man on the end of the Taptap helped pull me up onto the bench beside him, I looked out onto the bustling street and congested intersection, and I couldn’t help but think that there was a structure, and some sort of ironic grace, to it all.
Written by Erin Nguyen on May 14, 2015
Adapted from a journal entry written in Port au Prince, Haiti January 2015
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