Haitian Presidential Elections and a DNA of Hoarding


Haitian presidential elections are tomorrow, and in preparation for post-election violence, people are stocking up on food and drinking water, ready to remain in their homes should angry protesters flood the streets once election results are announced.  Most NGOs, Sara’s included, plan to remain closed on Monday, believing that if history is any indicator, security problems are inevitable.  My Haitian French teacher told me that after the last election, she was unable to leave her home for 5 full days, and she expects the same this time around.

However, Sara and I may have gotten to the grocery store a bit too late this morning, a day after most Haitians had already stocked up.  The shelves, though they were not empty, were terribly picked over, and, for example, there was not a baguette in sight (and very little fresh produce).  But we got the fundamentals and finally found French bread at the bakery near Sara’s office.

At any rate, we are well-supplied in the event of violence or political unrest: plenty of fuel for the generator, batteries for emergency lighting, and a solar powered radio to hear election results via our guards.

We are so well supplied, in fact—that Saint Sara is laughing at me as I write this, pointing out that, including the 4 cans of diced tomatoes I bought today, we now have a grand total of 13, and including the 2 I purchased this morning, we now have 14 bottles of salad dressing—blue cheese, balsamic vinaigrette, and honey mustard varies all lined in lovely rows.  Not to mention the 15 two liter bottles of Coke Zero, equally well-ordered.  Saint Sara’s soldiering of the surplus, so to speak

Okay, okay, I admit it—I’m obsessed.  I over-shop.  I over-stock.  It’s a sickness. 

But couldn’t I blame this on the political climate here in Haiti, the potential for civil unrest, the need to be well-supplied in the event of disaster?  Yes­—

—But I blame it on the DNA—

—Claiming, as my grandmother did when my aunt asked why she had so much toilet paper—a floor-to-ceiling-sized pantry full—

“I’m keeping it so all the hoarders don’t get it!”

What supplies are surplus-ed in your pantry?

11 thoughts on “Haitian Presidential Elections and a DNA of Hoarding

  1. I love hearing your news and so thankful you have internet service so that others can hear about the Haiti situation also.

    I think I would be in a terrible situation if we had an emergency of some kind because I live from hand to mouth. Usually, I go to the grocery store every other day for enough food to last until my next trip. Usually, I have 2 litres of water on hand at any one time and about a 1/4 tank of gas in my car. I have no generator and I don’t think I’d know how to use one anyway. I have a candle.

    However, I do have four full bookshelves and a room that I use for an office that is chock full of paper information. Looking on the brightside, maybe a disaster would give me time to actually read the books that line the shelves.

    Thank you, Kathryn.

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  2. I’m in London, visiting my daughter, son-in-law and grandson. No TV news watching, haven’t seen a newspaper, very little time online. Thanks for this update and for the news of what could be another setback in a country that has witnessed far too many setbacks over the decades. Sometimes, all there is left is irony.

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  3. I look forward to hearing how things unfold there … keep safe, and I hope everything remains calm and peaceful. For everyone. At least you can eat well! It sounds like the two of you are a good balance for each other.

    I loved your grandmother’s excuse for hoarding, how funny!

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  4. I hope all goes well for you and for Haiti after today’s elections.

    I inherited my mother’s (and possibly her mother’s) tendency towards hoarding, too. My pantry is so fully stocked that we could probably survive for 6-8 months on just that food alone. However, some of it is home canned goods. We had a great harvest this year so I have plenty of canned tomatoes, pickles (gherkins), and pickled peppers (as well a chest freezer filled to the brim with green beans, broccoli, applesauce, chopped peppers, and a variety of other veggies).

    We won’t be running out of toilet paper anytime soon either… lol!

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