This was to be a busy day. There were a number of activities that due to time constraints we had been unable to complete so early in the morning we first did some recorded interviews with Pastor Rolex, Isaac a young man who assists the pastor and Rosmanie a lady who heads up the women’s ministry in the church. Our intention to give a ‘from the horse’s mouth’ account of some of the issues surrounding their lives and how Mission International can help them. It is clear that in Haiti life is hard, in fact economically this place may be the benchmark for hardness. Their comment on tape of ‘life is hard for us in Haiti’ go nowhere to explain the real situation. And yet with gracious pain injected smiles they try to tell it how it is, more information coming from their faces than from their words. “It’s a wrap” we now have as much as we have time for since now we have to engage in one final border crossing between Ouanaminthe in Haiti And Dajabon in the Dominican Republic. The first leg of our long journey home is about to begin. Having experienced the border many times this week, this time was the mother of all crossings. We were aboard motorcycles with a suitcase over the handlebars and bags hanging off each side. The number of people trying to negotiate the border had increased by two or three fold, the noise of beeping horns, shouting people, revving engined and banging of all sorts added to the feeling of stress attached to the procedure. We hadn’t a lot of time to spare to get to our bus and so when we reached the passport office to find that all off their staff were eating lunch at the same time our stress levels increased some more. Eventually we were through the throng and after a short but failed attempt to change English bank notes with some writing on them, (The commonplace scribbles on English bank notes makes them virtually worthless in the developing world, which is slightly galling when we have to accept the torn, manky notes in the local tender).
The bus arrived and we are loaded and seated and soon we are on our way to Santo Domingo a 6+ hour journey lies ahead of us. The busses are comfortable with reclining seats and air conditioning, however on this occasion the air-conditioning was defective. Not defective that it didn’t work, but defective that it worked too well. The freezing air blasting though was unable to be adjusted in any way. We had packed out extra clothing into our suitcases and so it was in the hold of the bus. Other folks around us were wearing warm clothes, coats and three young lads had woolly ‘Andes’ hats on, which may give the reader an indication on how cold it was. Before long we were ‘Freia’ Freeeeeezing cold. With only a t-shirt top on this proved to be the coldest journey I had ever experienced. Six hours of freezing misery came to an end when we reached the Santo Domingo bus station where Volvik (Isaac’s brother) was waiting for us. He organised a taxi which took us to the small back street hotel we had stayed overnight in on our way in. The work knackered does not begin to describe how tired we were. The hotel managed to provide us with “Pollo Papa Grande” a massive dish of fried chicken and chips and then it was off to bed for a much anticipated sleep.