(Texte en anglais de Louino Robillard, promoteur du Konbitisme)
It has been a strange past few days for Haiti, waiting for the landfall of the powerful Hurricane Matthew. Yet perhaps the strangest thing was how familiar it all felt – the impending danger, the skepticism and fatalism of my fellow Haitians, the news headlines with “Haiti” and “crisis” and a few foreboding adjectives. Every year it seems, there is a new crisis that we as Haitians are called upon to be ‘resilient’ against. And we are. We are resilient. We are too resilient. We are crisis professionals.
And during every crisis, there is an amazing metamorphosis that takes place among Haitians. In normal times, we are a complicated mixture of the extreme competitiveness that survival and hustle brings, and a kind of mutual assistance that comes with recognizing that we are all at the bottom of the same barrel. But at the first gust of rain or drop of wind, at the first shake of the earth, we awaken not only resilience but this wellspring of solidarity inside of us. I saw this most clearly after the earthquake that rocked my country in 2010: for the days after the earthquake, I saw people struggling to pull strangers out of the rubble, sharing what little water and food they managed to salvage, sleeping in the open next to people they’d never met before. This was especially stark in Cite Soleil: my hometown, a place normally divided by gang conflict and territories and allegiances. On the night of January 12th, 2010, all of the blocks slept together as one in the public square in the heart of our municipality. That solidarity disappeared as soon as we began fighting over relief supplies a few days later.