We had a sad update to our post Funerals & Family that we had been not wanting to share, but feel we should, because it shows so clearly how arbitrary death seems to be in Cite Soleil. Our friend Snake lost his mother to some unknown illness in mid-November, and less than three weeks later, he lost his father as well. His father had been riding in a taptap, a pick-up truck outfitted with benches that serves as public transportation, coming into Cite Soleil. In the taptap with him was a young man involved in a local gang. Someone from a rival gang saw him, and shot into the taptap – the four shots all missed the intended target, and hit Snake’s father instead. He died on his way to the local hospital.
People in Cite Soleil are unnervingly used to death – it’s practically a part of everyday life. But even Soleyans were at a loss for words here – losing both parents within the space of a month was something even they had a hard time swallowing. All that could be done was follow the routines and rituals that everyone knows so well: a delegation from Konbit Soley Leve went to the father’s funeral, wearing the same shirts they had worn to the mother’s funeral just a few weeks before.