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Haiti: Earthquakes, floods and football

I’m the second housemate to wake up this morning. I find Anton the genial Indonesian engineer fiddling with the TV. He tells me (as if I don’t know) that it’s the final day of the English Premier League football season. Being from Jakarta, he is a Manchester Utd supporter and he is anxious to see if they can pip Chelsea to the championship on the final day. Joseph, the very precise Kenyan doctor, is a Chelsea supporter, so he is equally keen to find out if “the Russian tanks” (as he calls them) roll on. My beloved Spurs could potentially leapfrog the Gooner Arsenal Scum today, so this is, to say the least, an important day.

So I find myself in my underpants at 6:30 am, climbing up a 40-foot wobbly homemade ladder to the roof of the guesthouse to reach the satellite dish. It seems it toppled over during the heavy storm last week, but I can’t fix it. However, I do notice from the roof that the sugarcane field alongside the house is flooded, and the land around the house is awash with silt. This was not the case last night when we walked this route to the sea. Albert the finance manager from Benin speaks to the guard outside and informs us that at 1 o’clock this morning there was a tsunami! It turns out this is not strictly true. Rather, heavy rains in the neighbouring area washed down to the flatlands and inundated it.

Following last week’s aftershock I slept in a tent next to the guesthouse, pretty much like about everyone I have met in Leogane. But my voluntary stint in the great outdoors lasted only 2 days before the mosquitoes forced me back to the relative comfort of the big concrete house.

So, unlike the few hundred people who live along the road between our house and the sea, I didn’t even notice the floods until I saw the sludge which had run up to our doorstep in the morning.

In a single week I have slept through both an earthquake and a flood!

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