Listening tonight to a Haitian radio station and watching the #haiti #election tweets flow by was a bit surreal. Anticipation was very high. Spoke with both Benaja and John Engle tonight as well. We’re on with the Cité Soleil pilot … power, food, schedule all okay. Benaja will even have time for us, which is great news.

Given that we’ll be doing our workshop during the runoff election, I was worried that Celestin, the Préval successor, would make the cut. Riots have been a daily event this last week. He’s a very unpopular candidate. Tear gas has been used to disperse crowds on several occasions in the last week. I’m not sure if it’s related, but the Delmas chief of police was shot dead yesterday. (We’re holding our workshop in Delmas.)

So finally the election supervisor begins reading the results in Petionville, three hours late. Listening to his French, listing election after election, region after region, was like pulling teeth. Finally the results: Manigat 31.37%, Celestin 22.48%, Martelly 21.84%. Less than a percent of difference between Celestin and Martelly.

Soon after, some tweets from a woman in Petionville, which is where John Engle lives and where I drove through every day for eight days:

* On the streets, “This place is gonna turn red. They’re gonna die, burn. It’s gonna go crazy.”

* 10 police vehicles just left CEP. Petionville is quiet mostly. Chilling w/ neighborhood guys.

* Well scratch that. Gun shots. Petionville

* People say protests coming up to Juvenat to Petionville now

* 8 police trucks just passed down toward canapé vert

* Radio reporting chaos at Canape Vert. Shouting, “Martelly Martelly”

* Multiple gunshots Petionville #Haiti. I guess this will be the theme of the evening.

* Riots reaching petionville. Machine gun fire. Hundreds in the street.

Okay, that last one was 2 minutes ago. It’s getting a bit too intense for me. I’m gonna calm down and read about Pakistan and Afghanistan for a while.

Knowing all these locations and caring about many dozen people there, to say nothing of … oh, I don’t know … it’s real. This isn’t news.

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