My first long drive across town since recently returning from my month long visit to the states happened last Saturday afternoon. We were on our way to the Hope House home for at risk children. Normally it takes about 45 minutes to get there. Last Saturday we were in stop and go (mostly stop) traffic for over three hours. We never made it to HH as we ran out of time and had to divert and head back another direction.
It seemed as if we were driving through a war zone as there was rubble on either side of the road. Broken homes and shops littered the busy street side. People were walking through the chaos going about life as if it were all normal. We watched in amazement as a bull dozer smashed through flimsy shacks with crowds of people close by being held back by armed policeman carrying menacing weapons as they walked alongside the dozer.
The road is being widened hence the destruction. There are buildings lining the road with crudely spray painted X's. The mark is rudely splayed out against house and shop. During a particularly slow crawl we watched a family just ahead of the dozer filing out of their shack. In the midst of the family a woman rocked back and forth and wept without sound (as we were too far to hear). Her body language screaming out the grief of leaving. Stacked furniture could be seen among the rubble. Couches and chairs, tables and pillows were among broken cinderblocks and roofing materials. Children played in pockets of cratered roadside pools streaming from broken water lines along the way.
Looking outside my car window just days before while in Pennsylvania, I marveled at the glorious explosion of autumn colors covering the rolling amber and green forested hills. The frequent roadside billboards pointed out the way to Starbucks and McDonalds. Subdivisions of lovely homes and shops were just an exit away.
The change outside my car window has been a bit disorienting.