The thin, high pitched wailing of at least 7 different tiny tortured souls causes my eyelids to flutter, but I struggle to stay under.
Thwack. THwack. ThWAK. THWACK. THWACK. THWACK.
As my head bounces off the window again, I am jolted out of a neck twisting doze, blinking against fluorescent lighting and cringing as the sound of crying babies seems to increase. As I’m thrown forward again, I am sorely tempted to reach back and grab the tiny demon legs that continue to beat into the back of my chair.
I just finished a trip to Haiti with a fantastic non-profit company – Clowns Without Borders. This is the first time an aerialist has worked with them and possibly the first time an aerialist has performed in Haiti. We stayed for two weeks and entertained children around the country with our red nosed antics. Here are some journal entries and reflections from my time there.
Nov 19th, 2013 — Port au Prince
Poverty is apparent everywhere. The houses look like converted bunkers, everything is cinderblock and metal with sheets of plastic and wood filling in the gaping holes. As we drive from the airport, the dust is so thick our eyes water and we pull up our shirts to cover our noses, preferring to breath our own sweaty odors over the suffocating mix of dirt and car exhaust.
Seven of us are crammed into the back of a tap tap — a small, partially covered pick-up – with most of our luggage. It takes over an hour to arrive at our accommodations, inching forward up a never ending hill in bumper to bumper traffic, unfazed utilization of the sidewalk as a passing lane doing little to ease the congestion. When we finally crest the top, a group of men are rowdily taking shots in the center of a traffic circle as we crawl around to the left. They take a moment to stare at us in quiet disdain and then resume their drinking.
The scenery doesn't matter. The temperature becomes obsolete. Every noise fades into the distance and the only sound I hear is the quickened thump of my heart and the rushing of the wind. The air envelopes me and thoughts become a thing of the past. There is no time to think if you are becoming one with the sky.
I am strong, I am focused, I am airborne.
I am free.
Do you ever feel ugly or unattractive? Or unnoticed by those around you? If you happen to be white, and (even better), blonde, then fear not! The remedy comes in a trip to Nicaragua, where you will not only get attention from every local male you pass, regardless of age, but the women too will stare openly! If you’re lucky, and own a pair of booty shorts, you may even be followed more than once in a day.
I’ve been in Nicaragua for over a month now, and have gone through a wide range of emotions regarding this constant and incessant attention. At first, I was put off and slightly disgusted. Then, for a short time, I felt empowered and incredibly attractive. I mean, I could look like absolute shit and still get hit on by everyone around me. This quickly faded and changed to contempt for these people not having the ability to realize when I hadn’t showered for 2 days. Now it has become a background noise, albeit an annoying one, that only registers when physical contact is attempted. Then I whip around with all the fury a local woman and scream “ABSOLUTELY NOT!” In the heat of a moment, it’s hard to remember to speak Spanish.