Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Driving in Haiti--or even being driven--is nothing if not a adventure. The poor condition of the roads and the vehicles--and poor is a nice word to describe them--makes the strap hanging down from the car ceiling by the window, not just for decorative purposes. The holes and rocks in the road, the lack of driving patterns and lanes, the road-clogging number of cars trying to get someplace in a hurry all combine to make driving challenging at the least and dangerous at the worst.
Drivers in Haiti have to have the reflexes and judgment of expert video game players as negotiating the roads of Haiti, particularly Port-au-Prince, is like being in a real-life video game. More trucks than not have cracked wind shields. They belch black smoke, their interiors are stripped of all but the necessities (and seatbelts aren't considered necessities), and often there are empty beer cans rolling around on the floor.
We were fortunate on our most recent trip to have a fine driver, Jean Claude. He drives for the sisters who run the clinic in Cite Soleil. Besides being a good driver, Jean Claude, like most Haitian drivers, has to know how to keep his truck running. I can't even guess how many miles it has on it, and one Haitian mile has to be about the equivalent of 100 U.S. miles. Jean Claude faithfully and cheerfully got us where we needed to go, and we are grateful to him.
Jean Claude is pictured above with his truck, outside our guest house.