Haiti Part 2
Fri, November 05, 2010
D5 .. Mountains to Jacmel
Yesterday started with much discussion about the mountain road to Jacmel and whether estranger could drive it safely. After a while, Abelard offered to drive us, which made me feel much more comfortable, as he has driven the road many times. The hour long trip was one switchback after another, and another, and another, through some of the most beautiful countryside I have ever seen. In Haiti, there are truly dèyè mòn genyen mòn (beyond mountains there are mountains).
After some tricky moments at the highest elevation when we passed into a very thick cloud where I closed my eyes as we veered left and right near monumental precipices, we reached Jacmel and found the orphanage we were there to visit.
The meeting was quite good. The organization looks like it could be a solid parter in Jacmel, which is fortunate since this city has a large concentration of 2008 OLPC laptops. Our hope is to include teachers from the existing OLPC schools in with our training for this orphanage and possibly other schools.
Jacmel was once a resort town for diplomats and other well-to-do Haitians. The scenery and the beach are clearly beautiful, and the town is safe. I would recommend visiting here, providing you're up for the twisting road over the mountains. Michena, one of our mentors, became ill from the twists.
Though we were scheduled to drive to Mirebalais, we discovered that the schools across Haiti were closed because of the approaching storm. We decided to skip Mirebalais and briefly considered visiting the Williamson orphanage near Archaie, though were warned that it was not safe, as the hotel there was on the coast. After some worried discussions, we called John Engle who offered to give us a "port in the storm" from Hurricane Tomas in Petionville. The rain had already started as we drove there. It was clear that flooding would become a major problem in Léogâne and Carrefour. I was very glad to be east of the Léogâne river, and even gladder when we finally met John and his children at a restaurant near his home.