Just 24 hours ago, I was feeling very sorry for myself. Now, I wish this bus window was not so scarred so that I could get some good pictures to take home. Of course opening the window would allow dust in the bus and let the cold air conditioned air out, or is it warm air in? I can’t remember. Anyway, there are a lot of desperate people, dilapidated buildings and other good things which I will only be able to talk about, all because I can’t roll down the window.
Such are the challenges of my desperate departure. As I said, just 24 hours ago, I was feeling very sorry for myself because my flight out was overbooked. It seemed I would have to spend an extra day or two in Haiti. I was tired of seeing dirt, feeling the dust and thinking about disease. I was desperate to depart. I tried going to the airport at least twice, sourcing other means of transport from UN or mission agencies and even American armed forces. Nothing came of these forays. I sat on a rock outside of the airport thinking of just how I could get out.
Our hosts picked me up and took me back to the guest house. We ate lunch, talked, laughed and planned strategies. I used their computers went online and looked for cheap tickets and ready transport to go to neighboring Dominican Republic so I could fly to the US and on to Kenya. I found it! The next morning I am aboard a bus for $40 plus $30 for…? I don’t know what the other $30 was for. I am just glad to be on the bus. I was desperate to depart to see my family and most importantly my wife whom I have left in Kenya.
As I peered through the filmy window pane, sipping on my cold, clear, bottled water, it occurred to me just how self absorbed I really am. Most everyone outside of this bus is desperate to depart. They have neither the cash, credit, connections nor contacts to depart. They will live in this state of perfect poverty. Perfect poverty is poverty without options. It is depicted by living in a cardboard house that wilts when it rains because you don’t have plastic sheets nor clothes pins to it to make it ‘waterproof’. Perfect poverty is not being able to boil the food you were given because you can’t afford the charcoal, or it is still wet from the rain (if we only had waterproofed the cardboard). Perfect poverty is when you give up looking and mourning for 3 of your 4 children who were in that pile of rubble because you could not house, feed or clothe them anyway without their mother who died from her injuries. Given your present circumstances they are better off dead. You keep on with life even though a view from my seat on the bus says you should give up. You have perfected poverty.
My desperate departure is about me and my inability to consider any more sights of people who have no options. I pulled the curtain on the window. The air conditioning feels good. It is now I should feel sorry for myself.