Shocking, isn’t it. You look around at the people and everything happening close to you and you are a little shocked. Not by traveling to Haiti. But coming home. Surrounded by people. Everywhere. And the noise. It’s noticeable in the airport. That din of noise that you condition yourself to ignore.
But having been in the central plateau of Haiti for a week you have become somewhat conditioned to the quiet. Certainly there are donkeys braying, dogs barking, people out and talking at 5 in the morning while you are trying to catch a minute more sleep.
And roosters. Not crowing at dawn, but crowing constantly. I suppose maybe not in the hottest part of the day, but I don’t know what time that is. It is hot always…
The cooks at the guest house come to work about five in the morning, and they chat outside the building amongst themselves, or with others who have come to say hello, and while sleepy it is perfect to hear their voices coming quietly in and softly rolling in the early morning. Sing-song voices in Creole, no idea what they are saying, and where you may have been awakened by a rooster or moto coming into the yard, in moments you’re back to a light morning sleep, and the voices add to your dreams while being in Haiti.
Combine all of the animal noises, the occasional truck, the engines of the small Chinese motorcycles that are becoming more common, maybe an MAF flight bringing in visitors, the beautiful Creole everywhere, the ringing of laughter from so many, the children calling “Blanc, Blanc” at every turn, the smiling greeting of Bonjour or Bonsoir as you pass, the constant sound and motion and questions and thoughts from your own travel group and added all together Haiti is… well, Haiti is still quiet.
When you land in Port au Prince, it’s noisy. Cars and trucks and literally millions of people around you, and the airport sounds and crowds and you don’t quite hear it all because you’re still in Haiti and somehow this is exactly what you have come to expect. Even after a week every noise every sound is now exactly as it should be.
And then you fly from Port au Prince to Miami and there’s a television show playing on the plane. And you land in Miami and there’s the din. I know, that is how it always is, the crowd and the almost bombarding roar of an international airport and you can’t help but think that maybe all that “noise” in Haiti was more symphony, and that the noises that surround you back in the US are more brass and gong.
And then sounds of home. Familiar. Comfortable. And soon the dreams of Haiti when you come back that first night. And the sounds that shine from your memories. Already memories. And questions. And a little understanding. And time to now notice the world around you here. Oh my. Shocking? You’ll find the right word. I am going back to sleep.