Kelly In Catty

This blog is Kell's attempt to keep in touch with friends far away who complain that I don't e-mail nearly enough.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Warm in February

I'm posting the armadillo I sent Trixie. Trixie said I should post mine because she doesn't have time to do it... So here it is. I haven't however, photographed the one I got in the mail, so this'll have to do for now.

It's February. It's never a great month for me - It's just in the middle of the winter. It's bleak. It's cold... And nothing interesting seems to happen in February. We've even had to rely on President's Day and invent Valentine's Day to get ourselves through February.

Traditionally, I've tried to travel in February. From 1999 to 2001, I travelled to Haiti for a week each year to photograph a medical clinc in Port Au Prince. This year, all I get to do is listen to the daily election news and hope for Haiti's sake that they find a president that can manage the abject poverty and the 5% of the population who are so rich they can control the outcome of the rest of the nationals. It's dreadful in so many ways. It's like a civilization turned inside-out.

But. In February, it was warm in Haiti - wonderfully between 70- and 79-degrees. Flowers and breadfruit bloomed, and these crazy dogs roamed the streets. Everytime my group would travel to the clinic, small children would line the streets and yell, 'Blanc! Blanc! Blanc!"

One day, my friend, Warren, and I were walking through the market, looking to photograph. No one wanted to be photographed, so we were threatened and chased out. Once in the neighborhood, I was cornered by one of the wild dogs. Everyone just laughed. I couldn't fathom the possible and likely diseases the dog carried, so I inched my way to safety as quickly as possible. Wild times in Port Au Prince were had by all.

I met some of the most interesting people there. Celem was my favorite. He worked with us in the clinic, spoke very little English, yet frequently read French philosophers. Celem's tale was pretty common among Haiti, I think. He once worked in the baseball factories. He lost his job with the US embargo during the Clinton administration. Most people lost their jobs at that time. Celem has a wonderful wife. I called her "Mrs. Celem," because she refused to tell me her first name... Or her last name for that matter... They had several children, who could often be found at home, bleaching their Sunday clothes or scrubbing the Haitian dust from shoes and purses. When Celem needed money, he'd rent a Haitian taxicab (called a 'tap-tap' due to the rickety noises the engines often made) and haul loads of people wherever they wanted to go. At the clinic, he'd often sing hymns. When I could catch the gist of what he was singing, I'd sing along in English. It made us both smile.

Ah, February. No trips this year till next month. For now, I'll have to entertain myself with my writing assignments: I've signed up for a Writer's Course Online. Once the class begins, I'll get lectures and assignments online, I'll write my submission (which I will post on the blog - unless I've already posted it on the blog) and upload it. The teacher will comment on it. Then the other students from cyberspace will comment on it, and we'll start the whole process again. Sounds like fun, eh?

I'm kind of excited. It'll be good to have some sort of academic feedback for my work - and some sort of outlet to hear from other writers in the same boat.

It's been a long time since I've had homework. I wonder what kind of student I'll be as an adult. Hopefully, one like Celem - who just keeps reading, singing, and smiling.



  • At 7:06 PM, Blogger Trixie said…

    Patti at Red Velvet Cake is a AJC education reporter and has a Masters in Creative Writing. You should hook up with her! Also HP has this whole thing going on her blog where she posts part of an ongoing story that she is writing. Her husband also has a book going to print. Maybe you could swap feedback with them. GOOD FOR YOU! I am so proud of you for going back to school and for opening up your work for critical review.


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