Electricity has been sporadic at best these past couple of days, so extended computer time has been tricky to come by! I apologize for the delay in updates. :)
Good news -- the manifestations seem to be drawing to a close, although we have not yet been allowed to leave the guesthouse. President Preval spoke on Hatian television yesterday afternoon, which we were able to view in the guesthouse office, and our manager's husband translated for us. The speech seemed focused on long-term solutions to the food crisis, which many folks found frustrating. The manifestations continued into the night last night, but fortunately we got quite a bit of rain, which seemed to send everyone indoors.
Today, we heard on the news that several Hatian senators called for the Prime Minister's resignation, as well as several members of his cabinet. This seems to have calmed things down. Life seems to have returned to normal in Petion-Ville, although a small group continued manifestations downtown today. Dan and I snuck out of the guesthouse to walk down to the end of the alley this afternoon, and everything seemed to be business as usual -- merchants selling mangoes, people out and about, a normal amount of traffic, etc. We really, really, really hope we are able to leave the guesthouse tomorrow, even if we are restricted to Petion-Ville! Reading, swimming, and playing cards is getting OLD!
Hilights from today: we ventured out into the grounds of Frere school and church today, which is part of the (very large, we discovered,) walled compound that also houses the Methodist guesthouse. Frere church is quite beautiful, although it was padlocked so we were only able to peek in the windows. Bummer for Dan, as he noticed a full drumset set up at the front of the church! Oh well. Several Hatian friends also stopped by, bringing gifts of mangoes and young coconuts, (the mangoes here are like nothing else in the world!!), and chatting about church partnership business. Finally, we worried that we would be unable to leave tomorrow, and thus not get our shopping done for Eileen's scholarship fund craft sale, so Deidre gathered a couple of our friendly neighboring merchants, and Deidre showed us the ropes of street negotiating. We were able to amass a good collection of Hatian arts and crafts, which Eileen will sell at the church for the Methodist school scholarships we fund down here. We still hope to be able to visit stores tomorrow to complete our shopping, although they may not be open yet.
We are thankful the manifestations are calming down, and hope to be able to explore Port-au-Prince a little bit more tomorrow, before we depart Saturday.
See you soon!