by Brian Jensen
One of my favorite things to do is to hang out on my roof and appreciate the happenings of the town. This morning I’m up here sitting in a plastic lawn chair with a coffee, a camera and a computer (the 3 c’s). I have about a half hour to write before Elices’s (my housemate) wife Belovda is done cooking breakfast and we’re off to the races. The sun is starting to come up behind the hills. It’s foggy in the east so the circle of the sun is diluted into a huge round swath of bright light.
There’s French music playing from my neighbor’s huge speakers, reminding me that we have electricity today. When the music goes off I know the electricity is off. There are three people hard at work crushing rocks. “Turning big rocks into little rocks”. They sit on a pile of rocks and use a small hammer to turn melon sized rocks into 2” diameter rocks. They use this rock in building houses. Starting at 6am you can hear the rhythmic pounding of the rock crushers. There are usually some people taking rocks from the mountain and piling them up next to the rock crushers. A constant reminder that their work is never done. It’s a hard, thankless job, but it feeds their families, something that not everyone has.
A family of goats are playing around on their usual haunts behind my house. There are a few abandoned houses that I call the goat houses. In the heat of the day you’ll find all the neighborhood goats relaxing inside as though it’s their house. It’s somewhat of a joke between the neighbors. The neighborhood piglets will probably move in next door because we blocked them from getting past our fence last week. I kind of liked their company because Lucas, Elices’ kid would chase them around all day.
A man is cutting a racket fence and transporting it via wheelbarrow to a small garden down the street. To protect his eyes from the poisonous racket-milk, he is wearing chemistry goggles. It’s interesting to see a “chemist” sword fighting a cactus fence.
The town is starting to come alive too. Motorcycles and big trucks can be heard speeding through town on their way in or out. I live on the north side of town so we get a lot of traffic going to and from Cap Haitian.
The sun is starting to emerge from behind the fog, signaling a start to my working day. And that’s my queue, off to work we go.