Listening to a story on public radio, as by now you all know I do often, I heard an amazing story. There is an “encampment”, for lack of a better word, of earthquake refugees who have set up their tents on the median of a six lane road. Some of the shelters are wood, some nothing but a tarp. Some sell small necessary items from open holes, some have windows that close. A whole village has evolved on that spot.
Across the road are port-a-potties. They are often full and unusable. l leave the result of that problem to your imagination. Aside from that, you have to cross three lanes of traffic to get to them at all. There are children living in this median village. The visual is a difficult one; how worried those mothers must be. But people will always cluster together. One mother said she wanted to move to one of the planned camps but has heard that all the spots are already taken.
Median means the center, the average. Thus the phrase middle of the road, it is the center, the average, the place that doesn’t rock the boat, the balance place. So how is living in the median of a highway the middle of the road? How is it balance? Although I believe where there is breath there is always hope, this seems to me the bottom of the barrel, the most hopeless of situations. It is heartbreaking. But Haitians seem to have a boundless reserve of faith and optimism. They have an amazing resilience that is both heartbreaking and inspiring.
For these Haitians, it seems, the middle of the road is the end of the road.