Following the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that hit Haiti on January 12, 2010, TouchGlobal swiftly responded and has continued to send crisis responders to serve in Haiti ever since. We have established a presence and plan on staying here for a long time, so we thought it wise to set up a blog that family, friends, supporters, and teams can check to find first-hand information about life and ministry at the Haitian Queen (the TouchGlobal Crisis Response headquarters in Gressier, Haiti).

This blog will be updated regularly by various team members and staff.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Kevin's Latest Adventure in Haiti Customs

Written by Kevin W. in regards to his recent experience in Cap Haitien:

Tuesday morning we awoke full of hope that we would finally be able to get our last truck out of customs and get on the road back to Port-Au-Prince earlier this time than the last time. We drove into the city, and arrived around the 9 a.m. time we were told to be there, and gave a wad of cash to Poala to work her magic and get the truck released.

She promptly took the money, headed out the door towards the bank where she needed to make the payment, and said “m’ap vini”- literally translated meaning “I’m coming,” which means “I’m coming back.” Whenever I hear that, I get nervous, because, although it means I’m coming back, I never know if it will be 10 minutes or 10 days.

Cap Haitien or New Orleans?

We did what we always do in these situations… Wait. Only this time the waiting was broken up by various runs to the bathroom. When I went in to the “bathroom” at the office, I realized that it doubled as a storage closet, and also noticed that the shower had not worked for quite sometime, if ever. I also noticed the 5 gallon buckets of water on the floor, which I assumed meant that the toilet required manual flushing. My assumption proved correct in that when I pushed the handle down, no water flowed from the tank to the bowl. I grabbed the small plastic container, dipped it in the big bucket, and proceeded to dump the small container’s contents into the bowl. Now THAT’S a real water saving toilet design!

I alternated between various stages of consciousness for the next several hours, until Charles told me I needed to eat… Yeah, right. I told him no way, so he offered to go to the Pharmacy to get me something. I wrote down what would work best for me and what I had forgotten to bring on this trip to help keep my digestive tract regulated -- acidophilus. On all of the other recent trips I had taken it daily, and I had not gotten sick.

So, off he went in search of my “good bacteria.” He returned about an hour later with something that said “enzemas” on the package, so I figured it must be the closest thing he could find in consulting with the pharmacist. I should have told him to get me something more along the lines of valium, if I had known what the rest of this trip was going to be like! Charles insisted that I eat something with it -- that’s what the pharmacists said. Ok, fine… get me some crackers out of the truck.

Finally about 2 p.m., Rico came into the office and told us to go to the APN office, and Poala would meet us there with the paperwork. I knew what to expect having done this before. Charles and I traded our ID’s for the “parking passes” once again, and wandered over to where the truck was parked. A quick look told me all was well, just like we had seen it a month ago. After an hour or so, Paola came with the paperwork, and haggled with the head hauncho in the on-site police station.

At about 4 p.m., we were given access to the keys and the truck, but a larger truck behind ours had to be moved before we could get ours out. The designated driver for our truck jumped in, turned the key, and nothing happened -- I mean absolutely nothing. Rico swears they leave the ignition on just so they can “help” us when we come to get the vehicles. We went through the same routine as the last time, having the workers run around looking for a good battery and trying to jump the truck. Even though we had installed new batteries in the truck before it left Florida, the batteries were so dead that we ended up taking a good battery from our truck and putting it in the orange one to get it started.

We completed all of the remaining paperwork and drove both trucks to Rico’s warehouse to off-load as much weight as we could and to put it in the white truck for the trip across the mountains.

Unload as much as you can!

Knowing that we would not leave before dark, I contacted Caleb to see if we could stay at his house for the night, and finish the trip to Port-au-Prince from there the next morning. When I reached him, he was not in Pignon, but he said that he would call and make arrangements for us to stay in the camp near his house.

We left Cap Haitien about 5 p.m. and headed for our final stop at Henoc’s house for some supper, and to drop off several cases of water that had been on a pallet in the back of the truck. After, eating and jumping the truck again, we headed off into the night to start the grueling trip across the mountains…

1 comment:

  1. Awesome update Kevin. God continue to bless you and everyone else sacrificing time, convenience, and all your love and energy! You are in our prayers!

    Jerry Carroll
    TSN Ministries
    Bowie, MD