Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Once more with feeling

I just got an email calling everyone to protest the gvt's choice of negociating with vs punishing the kidnappers and other criminals running amok in this country.

So grève/huelga/silent protest for next monday. Not surprising. Kidnappings continue though I haven't heard stories has traumatizing as the ones I reported here.

On the other hand, I did get a fwd'ed email accusing the Prime Minister of getting a cut on the ransoms. Hence he's...apathy?

In the words of my laundress : "verite a ap pale kounye a "

The truth is finally out...

Stay tune for the next episode of your favorite soap : "Haiti, trials of our lives".

Meanwhile, chaos in Mariani over the local elections or asec. I hear even buses didn't go through yesterday. In PV, there's a call for a recount because, allegedly, there were ballots already cast BEFORE the elections started. There were also student protests in front of the Primature and near the Presidential Palace.

It really is the season to be merry.

P.S. Forgot to mention it but about a dozen prisoners escaped the city jail by digging a hole in the wall. Who needs TV in a city like this!!!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Plucking the chicken

Remember when I told you that Rinse Repeat was planning on paying thugs again to do nothing? I got a couple of emails from a friend who works in a public office that confirm that this is already going on, among other things.

I had to do some editing for clarity but here is what he had to say on different subject. [I'm the one commenting here] :

At work

My last boss what fired because he'd been named by the interm government. The new boss called back all the chimè that had been fired, some over two years ago, so they could claim the back salaries they had'nt "earned" in all that time.

The old boss had managed to turn a profit; the new one is giving away money to people who never worked a day in their lives, including when they supposedly "worked" here two years ago. Worse, current employees got in line to get the checks just like all those chimè and nobody even noticed!

And the ones who where hired under the interim govenment, and got fired after the elections, didn'nt get zip.

Let's not forget all the "chime" standing outside off the office who want to see their pal (I mean the director) and who start shooting when they feel they've waited too long. They're not particularly nice to the current employees either!

Meanwhile, six months can go buy and the real work doesn't get done. They say the new boss is putting some of the office funds in his own pockets. [quite possible and not surprising at all]

In the streets : the cops

When the police stop you, it is not to ask you for your papers or other items. But to ask you for some booze. [great! now we have to provide their drinks too? ]

In the streets : taxis

Did it ever happen to you? You're in a cab and two young guys get in and start asking people for money. There are guys like that on Delmas road : they always get in, watch the passengers, ask for money and then they leave whitout paying. The driver never says anything. [I wonder if that means he's in cahoots?]

I posted this as proof, not only that I am not a paranoid, neurotic freak (a feeling I get from time to time ) but also that there are several other people living here, who are witness to this mess and who are fed up!!!! My friend needed an outlet and you, my readers, need to know.

Urban Camping 101

Yesterday was election day. Municipal, local and even legislative (in the Artibonite, apparently).

But did I care? No. Did I vote? No. Did other people vote? I wonder. The streets were sooo empty, even for a Sunday morning that my mother and I were rather puzzled. My neighborhood was quiet, QUIET, for goodness sake!!!!

So if we didn't vote and didn't go out, what were we doing, you ask. Worrying, that's what! We're down to between 1h15 and 2h of electricity per day. And this does not make us happy.

Our fridge has turn into a pantry, the ants pantry specifically. We practically don't buy fresh anything anymore. Except certain vegetables like carrots or potatoes or onions that don't really need refrigeration. And since we can't save left-overs, we only cook what we can eat in one meal.

Milk isn't a problem since we've been drinking condensed milk for years now. But things like eggs or bread are surprisingly problematic. We now buy half-cartons of eggs, instead of the whole dz but the bread either goes stale or it molds over.

I have mold phobia, people. And it was EVERYWHERE at first. Now that we basically don't get electricity for much of the day, the mold has dried, we cleaned out the fridge and threw out the last 2 eggs.

Needless to say, I'm trying to use as little electricity as possible. So we don't watch tv/listen to the radio unless there's electricity. I don't know when my inverter is going to give out but I want to make what ever juice is left last as long as possible. So only the lights are on at night. Very depressing.

Very little ironing. Which is in itself a nuisance. You see, while knit clothing would be the obvious solution, my clothes are handwashed so they get scrrrrrubed out of shape by our laundress. So I only had regular fabric clothes. Well, cotton = ironing. I haven't figured out the solution to that one yet; don't want to get a wood-coal iron, ecological responsability and all that. Needless to say, handwashing is here to stay since a washing machine would be useless these days. So round and round we go...

Think that's bad? Rumor has it that the first trimester of 2007 (if not the end of 2006) will be completely energy-free. No electricity. Pa p gen kouran menm menm.

This is very depressing, especially when you hear that some neighborhoods already have no electricity at all, while others, such as Cité Soleil or Delmas 33 (nearer the airport, though) have 24h/7 electricity. I have a friend in Musseau who told me they get electricity during the week but not the week-end .

Now, I've lived through this sort of thing during the embargo so I know I can survive it but it's HARD!!! I just know the price of meat is going to soar. And bye bye yogurt, I'll probably have to change to calcium supplements.

All this brings me to Santa and my list. I used to joke during the embargo that we need everything is two sets : electric and manual. Well, here we go again. I call it Urban Camping 101.

As my mother pointed out last night, first thing we need is a solar-powered lamp. Then a dynamo FM radio. And maybe a dynamo flashlight. Oh, and the blender will have to be replaced (I already have a whisk but I'm thinking more along the lines of a meet grinder).

What else? Hum...I'll have to cut off the internet and the cable service so I need some entertainment. Scrabble and cards we already have. (This is the perfect time for me to learn to play poker, btw). I think the monopoly set is still complete but you could come up with a Clue or a Trivial Pursuit, always wanted one of those.

Did you get all that, Santa? Oh, and don't bother hohoho-ing when (if!) you come, I sleep badly enough as it is, a heart attack isn't a good stocking stuffer. So just come, do your thing and leave quietly. Beware of Sophie, next door, she's the bite-and-drag type.

As to wether or not I've been bad this year...well, I'm sure we can work something out for next year. See you when I see you, Nick.