Another long day of meetings and running around Port-Au-Prince, and honestly, it is exhausting. This evening, my last meeting ended at 8:00 PM, and we were quite a distance from the hotel. The ride back was through many sections of the city that do not have any electricity and the streets were full of vehicles. After a fascinating 45 minute ride, we made it back to the hotel, for dinner and a shower.
I sit here now, on the balcony of my hotel room, getting a chance to relax and soak another day in. As I have mentioned before, I overlook a ravine and hillside where there is a full mix of people and housing. At the top of the hill, there are big beautiful homes overlooking the valley and ocean. On the hillside, a mishmash of homes built on top of each other, with no streets, all built on a hillside that slid 4 years ago in the earthquake. At the bottom, closest to me, the slum. In the daytime, a caucophony of noise and activity.
There are very few cars in PaP, so there is not much traffic sound at night. Just the sound of hundreds of thousands of people packed into a small space living their lives. The din of conversation, music and laughter comes up out of the darkness, the low rumble of the slum. The lights on the hillside, where and when there is electricity, are almost candlelike. The randomness of the lights over the hillside makes it even look like a starfield. It is, in fact, quite beautiful.
Nightfall comes and this magical transformation happens. The city changes from this loud and big experience, with all its glaring inequalities and contrasts, to a more insular and still place. A blanket cloaks the misery and allows us to take pause and just live our lives, quietly. At night, reality can have an appearance of fading away and this magical sense fills in. I imagine the hillside I am on looks the same from the other side. I am a point of light, twinkling like all the others, in the night.
I know that this isn't real, the stillness and peace, but it is beautiful none the less. It is comforting to know that I am a point of light on a hillside, adding my part to the lovely rumble.
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