Carneval is normally next Tuesday, February 16. It's unclear what will happen. But certainly no pre-Carneval buzz: no loud neighbourhood parties, no mini-défilés (parades) with costumes and papier-mâché masks. Today I asked "E" — now on the mental health team, but formerly our strongest agent de terrain (community health worker) — what buzz she has heard about Carneval and security in general.
She says Carneval will not happen. No one is interested. The money and effort will go to reconstruction. Everyone is in mourning.
Indeed, Friday was proclaimed a national day of mourning (deuil). The bustle and daily noise on the street was absent on our drive in to the hospital. Instead, we had to detour around the crowd gathered on the street in front of the local cathedral. We passed a few other more modest places of worship in courtyards and storefronts. Many women were dressed all in white, with white kerchiefs around their heads, Bibles in hand.
At the hospital, you could hear the preacher expostulating at the church behind us. There was more fire and brimstone on the ubiquitous portable radios. Some of our patients were lying in their beds, eyes closed, waving their hands in rapture (with external fixations or traction sets in place). It seemed everywhere I turned, I came across someone praying. The guard let me in through the gate to our Rehabilitation Centre, and returned to his praying.
With so much loss and so many limitations, there is much to mourn.