Haitians don’t smile…or laugh…as a rule. They seem a humorless people, and no wonder – what is there to smile about? So it was that on a glorious, sunny Saturday we headed off on a day trip into the dark world of Haiti, well known as the poorest country in the western hemisphere, where the only real commodity the average citizen has…is time.
We took along Schera to smooth the way. Schera is a Haitian who grew up in a Christian family and is being trained in the Dominican Republic by G.O. Ministries to eventually go back and reach his country. This sort of return is rare – the “brain drain” on the country is tremendous. Put it in this crass way: if you had enough knowledge to get out of Hell, would you leave? Haiti isn’t Hell, but it’s bad, and our visit there illustrated this.
Just getting into the country is a bit of a crapshoot. It’s one of the reasons we brought along Schera, a very sharp and personable young man who, once we got to the border, seemed to know everyone. John says that the G.O. team has bantered about Schera becoming the future President of Haiti. It’s just talk, of course, but stranger things have happened. He was glad-handing, smiling (not your average Haitian), and all in all smoothing the way for us. I only found out later how important someone like him can be in getting through. It’s not uncommon at all for teams to show up at the border, be forced to wait three hours, and then never make it in. Fees change apparently on the whim of the border agents…and downright weird happenings are a way of life. If you’re going on a day trip like we were, and you don’t make it in by noon, you might as well turn around. The border closes at 5 p.m., so we had to get where we were going (a remote village called Phaeton) and get back by the deadline, otherwise we would be bunking in Haiti, something we weren’t prepared for on this trip.
We stopped at one of John’s favorite chicken (they eat this a lot) places in the D.R. on the way there – we needed to bring lunch with us. And after an hour or so dealing with customs, we were in, sort of. We had one more stop to make – the police station just across the border – we needed to register our vehicle. The only problem? No one was there, well, except for a guy who didn’t handle vehicle registration. This man was a member of their S.W.A.T. team. He was with a woman, and he had nothing on but a towel…really. Schera developed a rapport with him. He got on his phone and soon enough an official officer rode in on his bicycle to take care of our paperwork. Now we were really in. Welcome to Haiti…
Part 2 is here…
May 28, 2012 at 8:17 pm
This is like reading a really good book, can hardly wait for chapter 2. And while I’m reading this book I see just how amazing God is.
May 29, 2012 at 1:02 pm
Thanks for the encouragement, JoAnn!
May 29, 2012 at 7:05 am
Love reading about your experiences. You guys have truly been a blessing to the people of this island. Hope to see you again!
May 29, 2012 at 1:01 pm
Thanks so much, Rob! It was great to meet you and Cathy! And we do hope you will see us again, brother!