Oxfam America’s Coco McCabe is one of several Boston-based colleagues in Haiti to help with the relief effort. Here’s her latest update, dated January 28.
After the roar of the day–the grinding, clanking, honking, chopping, and wailing of all the machines required for an emergency response—it’s a relief to slip into my tent, zip up the mosquito net, and listen to the night.
What do I hear? I’m not completely sure, since this is my first time in Haiti. I recognize the rooster, who winds up way before dawn. And though I can’t decipher the words, I understand the anguish in the voice of the man who shouts the same phrase over and over into the dark beyond our compound walls. Like many people here in Port-au-Prince, he’s stunned by the earthquake’s wreckage of life and property.
There are softer sounds too. A rustling in the low plants. The pat-pat of dried leaves falling on my tent roof. And is that rain?
I’ve been worrying about the rain since I got here, not because I’m concerned about getting soaked—my tent has a rain fly above it and a sturdy plastic tarp beneath it—but because of what I imagine will happen to the hordes of people now living in shelters made out of bed sheets or whatever scraps of plastic, cardboard, corrugated metal, or clothing they can find. Yesterday, I was in a hut with one wall made of ragged women’s dresses.