Midafternoon clouds came over the mountains from the south, the sky turned black, the construction crews scrambled for cover and we had a fifteen minute deluge. It ended a quick as it began, the sun returned, and everyone went back to work. I finished up around five and decided to walk home; driving the pick-up is a thrill but is not my everyday style. I had scouted out enough options along the far wide of the river to know that I could cross the bridge and find a path that would lead me home.
The Grand Goave River is wide, and it gets wider every year. Renee says it has doubled in width in the twelve years they have lived here. When I first arrived here three years ago there were three houses between the Mirlitone compound and the river, now there is only one. The river has not grown because it rains more, but because when it rains, the runoff is so much faster. Water eats away at the banks and high ground yields to its power. With every rain the mountains give up more of themselves, more bare earth is exposed; more top soil is washed away. The cycle feeds on itself. Erosion is epidemic in Haiti.
After this afternoon’s rain the river was a turbulent swirl of mud as the mountains became just a little bit shorter, the river grew just a little bit wider, and Haiti gave up a just little bit more of itself to the sea.
Grand Goave River after an afternoon rain