We are ending the day in Mole St. Nicolas – a town on the northwestern tip of Haiti. The day began with a triumphant visit to our site in Port-de-Paix. We’ve been having some complications with receiver configurations but all problems appear to be solved. We successfully installed two more sites today and have found a little haven of a place on the beach owned by a Frenchman turned native. Amongst other usual Haitian obstacles to getting anywhere fast, we had to cross a 100 meter wide river that got to about 3 feet deep. It was fun to share the crossing with many pedestrians and donkeys.
In Jean Rabel, a small town that is the center of a broad agricultural area on the northwest coast, we installed a receiver on the roof of a mission. This provided us the opportunity to meet the two incredible sisters who run the mission, one from Spain and one from Ireland. Humanitarians on the front line, they work to educate and feed what they tell us are the poorest in Haiti, which is saying something. By the time we departed the mission, the main street of Jean Rabel was completely jammed with the daily market, forcing us to take the mountain road (vs. the coastal road) out of town.
In Mole St. Nicolas, most people are disconnected technologically. At the police station where our site is located, Andy shared pictures of post-earthquake Port-au-Prince. No one had actually seen any of the destruction – only radio broadcasts or mental imagery via word-of-mouth. It was sobering to watch people see for the first time the disaster suffered by fellow Haitians. They recognized many government buildings that lay in ruins and asked many questions about the disaster.
Sarah met a young man named Tony this evening who works as a translator part-time for the UN. He was in Port-au-Prince with his family and thanks God for saving them all. He was in the street “bragging” when the shaking began. Tony and friends helped his family out of the house, including a grandmother, mother, father, three sisters, and two brothers. The house crumbled but everyone survived. They have now come back to the countryside where their life first began – in Mole St. Nicolas.