Up fairly early and have a nice breakfast – Jiff peanut butter rather than Mamba – the Haitian variety – tasted rather bland. Bread got a little bit staler every day it seemed.
After breakfast we packed up all of our stuff – took down nets and double checked everything. Finally got everyone together and packed the truck full of stuff – nowhere near as much as we brought over but still a bunch. Then most of us walked down to the beach to get on the boat. Once on board several islanders joined us and we had a rather rough time pulling the boat off the shore, but finally under way with a much calmer sea than on the way over.
The trip was pretty uneventful – we saw the normal collection of small boats and the breathtaking scenery of the island. Saw some amazing birds with long pale green tails – nobody could identify them but they seem to be the long tailed tropic bird. As we approached the dock there was a freighter unloading cement in bags with small boats loading up by crane then heading to the dock and unloading by hand.
As we landed the swells increased. Kitty had her shin knocked against the wharf and almost got her feet crushed. Jenny had trouble as well but escaped injury. The beach was completely covered by litter – so much so that you couldn’t see the sand. We packed up the van and met Andre – our new driver going back to Port au Prince.
The trip back was harrowing! Andre seemed to flirt with death or destruction, passing while there was oncoming traffic, speeding when there was none. Horn blowing with alarming frequency. One of the team got sick with all the weaving. There is an election soon so many political posters – all with picture, name, and voting number. Many of the scenes that are remarkable but commonplace in Haiti – four on a motorcycle, carrying huge loads on bicycles, balancing heavy loads on the head while standing and talking to people, all manner of fruits, sugar cane, and other produce for sale on the streets. In every town there were hundreds of people on the street. Exuberant activity! We made a couple of stops, one at a convenience store to use the toilet and buy some supplies.
In Port au Prince Andre decided to take a short cut – then had to back down a long hill as the road was blocked. We ended up at a Delimart (three shotgun armed guards) and did a bit more grocery shopping (Haitian peanut butter – with pepper!) then Gene, the driver from the first day, came and relieved Andre, and took us to St. Josephs – our guest house for the night.
At St. Josephs we went to our rooms on the 4th floor to drop our stuff, then to the fifth to sit in the cool breeze, talk, and have a beer or two. The rooftops of the city looked pretty much the same as last year, but more trees were evident. The showers were cold water but were showers (rather than cups of water), and you could flush the toilets!
Dinner was quite nice at a real dining table. We got to meet Jose – a man Adam had been sponsoring for several years, and he talked about his business of raising pigs and splitting the profit with the person who invested in buying the pig. He also does goats.
After we went around the block to Margaret’s house (an employee of Vanessa, who arranged our trip last year) as she wasn’t feeling well, then back. Quite dark at night with no lights. Then more conversation before finally, one by one, heading off to bed.