27 April - Cap-Haitien Haiti to Santiago Dominican Republic
Saturday, April 27, 2013 – Well, OK, last night and this morning I really yearned for more reliable electricity. The generator ran for a few hours last night as usual, but before the water tank was full, something failed and suddenly the pump and all the upstairs lights stopped. In spite of Jim’s and Steve’s best attempts, there was no solution found so we stayed in the dark and went into water conservation mode. I managed to shower in the dark and wash my travelling pants by standing on them in the shower, but we gave up on packing. We thought, wrongly as it transpired, that the sun would give enough light for us to pack this morning. We ended up hanging our headlamps from the fan blades and putting up our standing flashlight. If there was anything in a dark corner of the room, it was left behind. Everyone made it to the kitchen by about 6:20 and Mary served us oatmeal, coffee and bananas which she had prepared in the dark. Pastor Thony said a grace, thanked us for coming and reminded us that the future is the children, and that if we want to help, that is where it should be directed. We wished Mary a fond farewell and boarded the truck for the last time. It had rained overnight, so we all got damp from the benches. Pastor Thony delivered us to the bus station and we exchanged blessings before he left us there. It was a slow process getting through the paperwork and finally boarding the bus and we pulled out about 20 minutes late with hot breakfast boxes and cold water bottles having been distributed.
Our route took us along the harbour front, which looked great until we came to the place where all the garbage was washed up. Then past the busy market where I’m sure I saw stuff from our Florida rummage sales, for sale. After about 90 minutes we reached the border. At the Haitian exit point we got off the bus and handed our breakfast boxes into eager waiting hands, then stood in line to surrender our passports and got back on the bus. After crawling through the heavily-secured border area, the bus pulled up in front of a warehouse. The attendant on the bus gathered our Dominican Republic documents and we all gathered all our luggage and went into the warehouse. After a cursory inspection of our bags we reloaded them and ourselves into the bus, and then waited…until finally the attendant reappeared and gave back everyone’s passport. She couldn’t face trying our names so just handed all 9 Canadian passports to Leon to deal with. We were on our way again. On the DR side of the border things are better -- crops, animals, houses, roads. There are no high cement-block walls and razor wire around each property. More flowers, a bit less garbage, nicer vehicles. Somewhat more orderly traffic. In Santiago we stuffed ourselves and our gear into 3 cabs (we left so much behind, why do we still have so much? A mystery.) At the hotel we were all given upgraded rooms from what we had last week and we feel like kings and queens. We met for a late lunch and long conversation about the past week. We’ve agreed to get together in a couple of weeks, when we have had time to absorb all the Haiti experience and agree on a project recommendation for Tansley. I know I have lots of ideas and I’m sure everyone else does too, but we need to pray and ponder before we can be sure.
Posted by Janice Hatt