Friday, March 13, 2009
I just walked down a road that appeared to have been hit by a hurricane. As I passed through the area that was cleaned out yesterday by the police (see yesterday’s post), I saw piles of rubble where houses and shops used to stand. Sometimes people were standing in the rubble, weeping or just staring vacantly. One man was drunk, and he waved his arms and railed at whomever was passing by. I stopped to offer consolation and help to a woman who was digging through a huge pile of boards and tin. She said that she was a widow with children to support, and that the rubble represented both her home and her business. She kept staring at it blankly and saying, “What can I do now? What can I do now?” Not all of the shops along the road had been bulldozed, though. One of my friends said that her shop was spared when her landlord bribed the police. As with many traumas in the developing world, the initial blow is only the first. The landowners with rubble on their property are now charged with cleaning it up before the Pope arrives on Tuesday.