another day in Haiti

The blood covers my foot and I can no longer tell what parts of my leg are covered in flesh, blood and soil. I try not to look long at the numerous wounds on the lower half of my body, not wanting to think about the cleanup work i will have to do when i get home, and quickly assess the rest of the situation. Shock sets in and as the crowds start staring and slowly moving in, I jump off the ground and smile back. Confused at my over-excitement about the situation, the locals aren't quite sure how to respond. One man offers a hand but I turn my attention towards the driver laying on the ground instead. Unsure if I offended the man offering help, my mind wrestles with the decision and distracts itself from the wreck around me. Reality hits as soon as the driver gets up and looks to see if I am alright. 

Seconds earlier, the two of us were traveling down The mountain on a motorcycle. With unusual caution, for the first time in Haiti I actually felt completely safe on the back of a bike. The pounding monsoon rains from the night before left parts of the road overflowing in mud and broken trees and my eyes scanned the horizon at the various landslides that had deformed the terrain around me. As the other motorcycles quickly darted in and out of the rubble, my driver and I remained in line with the rest of the cars. With a growing amount of confidence in my driver, I reach for my bag and pull out my camera to take pictures of the mudslides below. The ride couldn't have been going better, until the first turn ahead started to approach. As if seeing into the futue, I looked ahead and saw the patch of slick rocks and rubble up ahead, in direct path of our route. Like a tattoo on the earth, the mudslides and torrential rain from the night before had left their mark on the road ahead of us. 

The next seconds went too quickly to remember and soon I found myself sliding horizontal through the mud and rocks with a bike laying on my side. Everything suddenly went by quite slowly and I looked up to see the tent camp ahead of me and artisans lining the other side of the road. Pain didn't even cross my mind and the seriousness of what had happened faded to the back of my mind. That all soon changed when I looked up to be greeted by the front end of a giant water trucker.

The truck darts past us and in avoiding the pothole in the center of the road, runs over the glass which was at one point in-tact on our motorcycle seconds earlier. Glass shards shatter and are thrown in our direction. I lower my shoulder and shield my face as the truck drives by unaware of our situation below. I pick up my things off the ground and am impressed as i realize i instinctly protected my camera during the fall. I take a few seconds to decide whether to get back onto the bike or stay stranded in the middle of a section of portauprince i know nothing about. I decided to straddle the bike and the crowd gives me an unassuring nod back. The bike is silent and no kick or flp of a switch seems to wake the giant. As if it is aware of the fall it just took, the bike stubbornly sits along the side of the road and refuses to budge. With some help from the man who offered his hand and after some twisting of wires, the bike purs to life again and we slowly move in our original direction of travel.

As we drive on, eyes gravitate in our direction. My leg is covered in blood and the sandal is torn apart. With extreme caution, we drift towards my apartment at the bottom of the hill. Minutes later we arrive safely and I jump off the bike and hand the driver a few goudes. Shocked that I was still willing to pay, the driver smiles and apologizes once again in a mix of English and creole. We smile and I turn to head inside and begin the cleanup process. Just another day in Haiti...

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