douard Jean. Toussaint Dirige Vers la Bataille
(This article was written about 2004 after my first trip to Haiti.)
I have read with a sinking heart the steady stream of news items coming out of Haiti.
Perhaps I lead a charmed life, or am just totally naive to the real situation, but as I just returned last Monday, the 20th of June from an extended visit to Haiti, I must say that the doom and gloom reports do NOT register with what I saw and experienced.
On our trip down to Haiti, we flew an L10-11 which holds about 300 people and only 3 or 4 of the group were Haitians. There were UN guards at the Airport, but not significantly different from what we see in the way of security stateside. We arrived mid afternoon and rode a Tap-Tap through Port Au Prince to our place about 3 miles northwest of the Airport.
None of my group ventured out at night, but I did not hear gunfire or other commotion. I'm one who loves to sit outside at night, and covered with OFF, I thoroughly enjoyed sitting out on our second floor balcony and looking over the city at all hours of the night. I was reminded of Nehemiah and his surveys of the ruined city at night as he would walk and pray for the Peace of Jerusalem.
We went out into the city every day - On Tap Taps - all across Port Au Prince and up to the foot of the mountains. At no time did we ever see any violence directed towards us or anyone else and I did not even see a frown or gesture to indicate that the Haitians were not happy to see us.
On Friday we went up to the Baptist Mission. We had to change vehicles half way up the mountain, because the one we were in could not make it up the steep hills. We spent a couple of hours at the market, then back down to the overlook where all the cell towers are and ate supper at Dominoes.
Over all the biggest thrill and the most scariest in retrospect was passing cement trucks at 60 plus miles per hour - making our own third "suicide lane" while another Tap-Tap was barreling down from the other direction - with scarce inches to spare on all sides and of course no seat belts or air bags (grin).
As I stated at the beginning of this little memoir, perhaps I'm naive or lead a charmed life, but looking out over the congregation last Sunday morning at hundreds of Haitians singing "Count Your Many Blessings" was worth the whole price of the trip. I shall never hear that tune again without crying for Haiti.