Manifestations are a way of life here in Haiti. When the people aren’t happy, they protest, usually in the form of a manifestation. It is a way to have their voice heard. They usually are violent or include some kind of property destruction: road blocks, burning tires, people on the road not letting you pass. Just last week, I learned of a pump at a gas station being set on fire by an angry group of protesters, allegedly because the owner was not selling gas to the public, only to specific people who would sell the gas at a hiked up price. Often manifestations are political in nature. We had a lot during election time over a year ago, but on the whole the number of manifestations is down.
Today the city of Cayes is having a strike. Strikes are usually a peaceful form of protest. You usually hear about it in advance. All the businesses are closed today in protest. I’m told that at noon, everyone is going to bang pots and pans and that there will be a march in the city, with signs, etc., similar to what protesters do in the US. Just like a manifestation, you don’t always know the reason for the strike. I’ve heard different reasons for today’s strike: protest the high cost of food and/or to protest that 2 of the top government security guys were transferred somewhere else. I’m not sure the real reason.
As missionaries, we are instructed to hang low when these events are happening. This is great advice! We are not here to get involved in politics—we are here to advance the gospel of Christ! It’s not too hard to avoid them. We often hear of them on the radio or in advance, like we do when they strike.
Today I won’t be heading into town. What I will do is continue to pray that the government leaders will think of their people first, before they think of themselves. Haiti has a long history of of government corruption and leaders who think only of themselves. Would you pray with me?