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mardi 2 mars 2010

Tristes Tropiques.. 30 Hours in Miami Part C Stranger in Paradise

It is good to share a deep friendship like that I have with my sister Jackie. I appreciate her presence in my life and I realize her worth..she has allowed me to be a better person by giving me this opportunity.. and of course her unselfishness is legendary. We both felt good sharing the day together. Lunch was Thai Food (Pad Thai, tofu, shrimpt) and for dinner Jackie cooked Lamb, beans and sauce with mint jelly. and Thank you Continental for that South African White Wine (Chardonnay/Sauvignon Blanc).
That evening while rushing back to the house, after having my afternoon shot of cortadito, I noticed an elderly black man sitting on the pavement, near the house. I spied a blue passport lying next to him, thought it might be a jamaican one. A young black lady was talking to him. When she finished talking to him, I saw him get up, pull his small black case behind him and walk slowly towards the main road. I stopped and enquired.. What was happening to the old man?
He does not speak any English, only Creole. He says he has to go to Miami City and is looking for a bus stop. I pointed him to the road and told that buses leave for Miami from that bus stop.
Why dont we give him a lift to the bus stop, I asked. She hopped in and we found the man walking along the pavement. I tried to get some information from him, but I dont speak Creole, he does not speak Spanish or English and our French was mutually unintelligible. I was able to understand that he had arrived from Haiti (I checked his passport, he had landed in Miami on 23rd, three days ago), he wanted to go to Miami city or Homestead (both destinations very far for a pedestrian old man pulling a suitcase albeit small from Kendall where we were..) and the only address he could give me was that he wanted to go to 5th avenue and it was near a football field.
We took him to the bus stop and when we stopped a Metro Bus to seek help, the driver was positively unhelpful. That is when the young lady decided to seek the assistance of Police and we drove back to the spot where we found him near the my sister's home (the young lady lived nearby) and waited as the night was approaching and the wind was getting chillier.
The young lady had friends who spoke Creole and she got them on the phone and after many conversations, we garnered that he had arrived in Miami three days ago, on a programme of temporary asylum after the earthquake. The people who were supposed to pick him up didnt show up, so he decided to walk to what he thought was the right direction. He had a crumpled Haitian passport and a few single dollar notes.
He has been on the road for three days!
tu as faim? are you hungry?
he nodded, I am very hungry.
Quickly we got him something to eat, the young lady rushed to her home to fix him something to eat, my sister's husband came out of the house with their jamaican helper, who fixed him something warm to drink and a packet of biscuits which he eagerly slurped. He ate in delight, he sat and was mumbling and then suddenly recited a telephone number. The young lady immediately dialed that number, to our disappointment, the answerphone came on to say that there were far too many messages on the answerphone. He looked puzzled and scratched his head. He recited yet another number.
Ring Ring for what seemed to be a very long time
we explained the situation. The lady on the other end of the phone said, Yes, she knew him and that her address was the one the old man was looking for.
we noted down the address
but it was in Florida city. This old man would have never reached that place, it was beyond Homestead and a fairly long drive..
The lady who answered didnt have any transportation, and she suggested that we call the police to bring him!
I will take him to that address, said my sisters husband.
I will go with you, said I, let us take him home, this poor old man from Haiti.
No, my sister's husband said, sister jackie has prepared a nice dinner for you. I will take this old man and the jamaican helper will come with me.
and the policeman who had just arrived was immensely grateful to be relieved of a very difficult problem, since Florida city was much beyond his territory.
I was later told that when they reached a petrol station near the address, they were told to wait there for someone to pick him up. No one came, so a Haitian taxi driver drove the three of them to the address mentioned.
As the football field and the block of flats came into view, the old man was Haiti was joyous and was eager to jump out of the car and was shouting his joy in creole language.. This is the address.. this is the home..
He opened the door of the taxi, and ran to the apartment! Before he left my sisters husband gave him $20 usd which he gratefully accepted.
Through the Haitian taxi driver, we learned that the US govt has precleared him for programme of temporary residence, since he had been to the USA before as an agricultural worker. And more gratifying to every one was the fact that two of his sons from Haiti are studying to be doctors in France!
I know that the kind deeds of the youg lady ad my sisters husband would be bestowed as blessings on their loved ones. My sister just had chemotherapy the day before and I told her, it is the law of the Spirits that your husband's deeds will be reflected in your suffering less the effects of chemotherapy this time around.
I wrote this waiting for a flight to go home to Paris, there was a snow storm in the North East and a windstorm in the atlantic coast of France..but i got home safely. My sister called from Miami to say that she is okay.. tired after the chemotherapy but nothing too bad, she was resting.
This is what happened to me in little over 30 hours in the city in USA that I have always loved: Miami, Flroida.
The temperature today High/Low in degrees Fahrenheit
NYC 37/32 Montreal 35/3 Miami 68/52 Havana 73/54 Baracoa 83/67 Paris 52/40 KL 95/79 Mumbai 91/75..

Today is March 2, 2010. A gorgeous day in Paris and a member of the family, Solen, had a baby, who is being watched at the Intensive Care Unit. My sister from Miami wrote an email:

Congratulations to everyone and I am sure Sudah ,the spirit of the Haitian man you all helped has pulled everyone through.

I am fine………..…not great……. But nothing to complain about.

Just tired and weak..

I pray for my sisters welfare, I pray for Little Bleiz in the Hospital to be well and go home with his maman and papa. I wish the old man from Haiti contentment in his new abode, and the young black lady from New York who is moving to Portland, Oregon, a prosperoud future