Haiti is suffering from the massive Jan 12 earthquake and needs our help. Below I've posted some first-hand accounts of the quake from people in Haiti. Please consider a donation to an organization in Haiti. If you would like to give directly to a Haitian family, please contact me (anna.versluis@gmail.com).

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Maps and Hens

Most people here have very little experience reading maps, so my love of maps and aerial photos of the area usually finds no shared interest. (Years ago when I lived in Port-au-Prince I had a topographic map of Haiti on the dining room table. A very good friend of mine saw it and said, "I've seen people using maps in movies, but I've never understood how they can be used to get you from one place to another." That is just to say that map skills apparently are not taught in schools here and most people never use paper maps.) Today, however, I spent the day with a man whose family owns a lot of land in one portion of the Fond Verrettes watershed. He was interested in the air photos and helped me find the GPS reference points I needed. After we'd spent an hour walking up and down a mountain and through people's patio gardens he asked, "Which is harder: boot camp or Anna's dissertation research?" J
This same man lives alone and is rather endearingly called "crazy"—in the eccentric sense—by some others in the area. Most of his family lives in the U.S. and he'll probably give up his gentleman's farming one day to join them. He raises chickens and also has a fighting cock. He mentioned several times how much he loves his birds. I asked if I could take his picture and he said yes, if I'd also take a picture of his favorite hen. She was a beautiful creature, fat and round and brown with lovely speckles. Unfortunately she wasn't much interested in posing for the camera. I heard him say under his breath, "I love my hens so much, I don't know what I'll do when they die."


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