Saturday, January 12, 2008

Sometimes, NO electricity is a good thing...

I'm back from Haiti. This is Cite Soleil, and the children in the photo are flying kites made from plastic garbage bags. I spent most of the week here. This is the area of PAP where the killings and violence were worst; before the UN came through and cleaned out the gangs. As we drove down streets we clearly could see bullet holes pockmarking the sides of buildings.

The hunger and malnutrition are rampant, worse than 5 years ago when I last visited. I met a little girl who cried as she told me she has no hope because she sees her little brother and sister weep from being in so much pain from hunger. I met a 10-year-old boy who confessed he's afraid to fall asleep sometimes because he's so hungry he fears he'll die in his sleep.
But the good news is this area was very peaceful, quiet and we can work there once more, without worrying about the violence driving us out for safety's sake.

Cite Soleil has no electricity. Houses are doll-sized structures jammed up against each other, wearily holding each other up. Sluggish rivers of foul algae-choked water move in a network of open canals that comprise the sewage system.

Electricity is funky in Haiti even in the best areas. Most hotels have generators. So I spent a week in a ghetto where residents have NO electricity and come home to electricity and catch up on email and there's a blizzard in romance about the Cassie Edwards issue to the point where I have an RWA alert in my in-box.
I can't even recall when I last had an RWA alert.

My head whirls, kinda like that move Linda Blair pulled off in The Exorcist. I'm not commenting on anything, except one fact that I note with wry cynicism. The article about said issue in the NY Times.

Anyway the first sentence of the NY Times article on the Cassie Edward's issue is, and I quote directly here, "Who says romance novel fans care only about ripped bodices and manly men?"

All the controversy and the hue and cry and all and it boils down to that single sentence of how a respected newspaper views romance. Because as anyone in journalism (former reporter here with a degree in journalism) will tell you, the lead sentence is the most important one the journalist writes. So the NY Times perception of romance = ripped bodices and manly men.

Sigh... I wish I had avoided logging onto my computer. Sometimes NOT having electricity can be a good thing...


Patti O'Shea said...


I'm glad you made it back safely. I've been thinking about you and worrying a little.


Gillian Layne said...

Thanks for keeping us aware of "real" problems of the world.

Yeah, I hate that lead sentence as well.

Bonnie Vanak said...

Thanks Patti, for many things. Thanks Gillian, sometimes the real problems of the world seem unsolvable, but I think I'd rather spend more energy trying to solve them than immersing myself in other stuff.

Yeah, that sentence really blows, doesn't it? Sigh...

Toni Lea Andrews said...

Perspective is everything, isn't it?