I remember barbed wire from childhood when watching the news and photos from the concentration camps during the war in Croatia and Bosnia in the early nineties. The image of the disturbing and twisted marriage of barbed wire and barbed rib cage of starving men was engraved in my mind. After a bad nightmare, I wasn’t allowed to watch news after eight in the evening. I was nine years old. But at that time, all news was bad news, and no matter how much my parents wanted to protect me, back in those days the reality of the war was kicking in like a disobedient child.
Here in Haiti, that kind of reality is everyday life for most of its people. Barbed wire is the synonym for safety, necessity, and threat, lurking from its dark corner. There is no war; at least not of the kind I previously spoke. Here I’ve seen barbed ribcages on children, and barbed wire everywhere. Every respectable household has barbed wire around its walls. These are two sides of the same coin; threat and protection. But again, darkness is the absence of light. One has no meaning without its total opposite.
Thus, the long-awaited project to secure the entire compound with barbed wire was gladly initiated and finished with the help of UN Paraguayan Contingent. Many have wondered: what is the need for barbed wire at the orphanage and missionary house? Because evil does not ask whether abandoned children or a six headed monster live there; because a hungry stomach and numb mind do not leave a lot of place for moralizing. That’s why. There were five shots three nights ago. I could tell by the sound it was a nine caliber, simply because three years of life here take a toll and one learns to distinguish calibers by sound. There were five shots, possibly nobody hurt, but now when we hear this, we know we have our secured barb wire; our first line of defense. With the help of our friends from the Paraguayan Contingent of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haïti , we are provided with a little more peace of mind and more safe dreaming for our kids.
One project is done, with another in the line-up. With the necessity to provide stable electricity, we hope to buy and install a transformer to help to help provide stable electricity for the community and to help us deter the costs for our own 24-hour electricity by saving money on gas for the generator. Having electricity means more than just a light. It means safety and security, as well; two things that are an absolute “must have” these days.