January 12, 2013

Bonjou! Komon ou ye jodiya?

I traveled across the turquoise waters of Turks and Caicos on 1/12 and flew across the dark blue yonder.  A verdant delta emerged through the mists as we approached Haiti.  There were numerous small rowboats, speckling the waters below and we sailed across a landscape of concrete walled homes with rusted corrugated roofs.  I continued to peer intently out the window of this new land.   A cannibalized prop plane lay abandoned on the side of the runway.  We taxied over to a small airport/shed where our bags were collected into two trucks and we zipped down a paved road through Cap Haitien.

The colors of the small homes were bright with plastic detritus scattered across the landscape.  Trucks with wooden backs called "Tap-taps" were piled full of people in the cab and hanging off the back.  Apparently, when you wanted to get off the taxi, you "tap tap" the side and hop out.

At a crossroads between Cap Haitien, Milot and Dondon, the paved road of Cap Haitien gave way to a dusty gravel road with the occasional gaping pot hole.  Motorcycles with two or three passengers hanging on the back zipped in and out of the traffic, competing with oncoming tap-taps.  The road cut like a straight rut through the tropical landscape, peppered with small children carrying buckets of water on their heads, journeying to and from the local wells.

At a seemingly random location in our journey, we cut a right and arrived at our site.

The mission house site

Here I am in my dorm room on the campus, setting up my mosquito net.  It would take a few days before I   figured out how to use the hooks on the walls so the net wouldn't be lying directly on my face and legs.

There was a period over the course of the weekend that I felt a sense of "overwhelming quietude."  I think it was part of the transition into a foreign place without knowing the language, the culture, being struck simultaneously by the incredible poverty (but also the surprising degree of development)... there was just a lot of adjusting to do.

We walked around the town and drank in the sights and sounds of this bustling town.  This included a brief tour of Sans-Souci Palace, a site of regal beauty (and aqueducts!) and some fascinating history involving the first King of Northern Haiti after they won their independence from the French.

No comments:

Post a Comment