03 September 2011
[ayiti] Someone to watch over me
I've been going through my photos and picking out ones I want to print for thesis. I was about to pass this one up before I stopped and took a closer look.
You first notice the woman carrying the basket of fruit on top of her head. Everywhere you see extraordinary women (and sometimes boys) like that, who can confidently and deftly saunter down the street without so much of a teeter. Most of the time, these are the 'traveling salespeople,' walking around with their wares and advertising them to passersby. Marcus and I learned to pick up the sound of "sashay dlo," which means "bags of water" for the thirsty. These are the most common and convenient ways to get clean water, although you still find water bottles all over the place - mostly tossed into road-side canals.
Then you have the man watching up in the corner. This is a common sight, particularly along Boulevard Toussaint L'Ouverture - one of the major thoroughfares that runs by the airport, UN Logbase, and other MINUSTAH compounds. Someone is constantly watching. What I found funniest, though, was that Haitian merchants and artisans have been able to profit from this constant official presence. Because most all of the peace keeping soldiers and other relief workers are foreign, they make for a bizarre class of tourist. Want a souvenir to show family and friends that you went to Haiti and back? Artisans have shrewdly set up their wares right outside compound walls for easy browsing.