Second Mile Haiti

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012


For the last week and a half we’ve lived with Hannah and Johanne. It’s been awesome. We wake up and fall asleep talking about all sorts of possibilities. We talk about Haiti and Canada and the United States. We talk about sticky issues and even celebrities. We watch things like Gumby and Fat Albert and Dora the Explorer and drink fresh Citronella tea at night.

Her husband Chris is coming back on Wednesday and since he’s been gone for a few weeks we feel we should give up our spot on the couch. He’s probably missed watching Dora. He’s probably missed his wife and daughter a bit too.

The night before last we were bargaining with a man that owns a share in this apartment business. Although all the apartments here are full and will be for a few months still this man was considering renting us a room just next to his home. The “room” is a little structure with a toilet, a sink, a shower, a bed, and a counter.

We wanted to pay $200/month, a third of the price of an apartment for a third of the space. But for someone who was accustomed to charging $40 a day to short term visitors it wasn’t enough. He wasn’t really going for it…The situation could have gotten pretty discouraging but something clicked and my thought switched to Jesus and how great and big and awesome and all knowing He is. It suddenly didn’t matter what Mr. Expensive Rent was saying. With God all things are possible.

Do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (NIV)

After you’ve surrendered your needs into God’s hands the next step is to enjoy the Peace He promises will guard your hearts and minds. It’s a pretty good verse.

Well… we had to make a higher offer but we’ve now offered our maximum and we’ll see what happens.

Johanne had to pull Mr. Expensive Rent aside to tell him that we really don’t have a lot of money to spare although the fact that we’re foreigners leads people to believe otherwise.

The other day we did encounter one person who held an opposite opinion. Do you think he could tell that we wear some of the same clothes every day? Maybe he was tipped off by the fact that we were covered in dust and looked like we’d just blown in off the street. Something must have given us up because the man showing us trucks quickly passed over the most expensive ones and headed straight for the reasonably priced ones.

M pa kwe ou gen tout kob sa? I don’t think you have that kind of money.

What? We don’t look like we have $40,000 to spend on a truck??

Sunday afternoon we had another opportunity to scope out a piece of land. At first glance it was nothing special. But if you look toward to the edge of the property a crop of mature shade trees becomes visible. They’re quite tempting. The land is situated a ways up from the road which is a good sign when you have to worry about flooding. They’re growing beans now on the front half of the land, which is a very good sign since our project will have an agricultural emphasis. I saw a few farmers walk down the road and got to day-dreaming about what our friendship would be like if we moved to this area. Surely they would want to teach everything they know about corn and beans, we’d farm till sunset and then enjoy a snack of sugarcane… or maybe not… it’s probably too early to say.

The property had an excellent mountain view and was situated close enough to the village without having to worry that our development would mess with the eb and flow of village life.

Jenn and I went our separate ways today. I headed North to Limbe and Pilat where I got to learn a little more about Haiti’s National Program for Early Detection of HIV in children born to HIV + women.  I visited a few hospitals with one of the programs main implementers.

Jenn braved the laundry. Like I said, we gotta stay fair. She chose, or as she likes to say, she got talked into taking the laundry to a Laundromat…just to try it out. I believe she used the word “hate” when describing the experience. At $2.50 a wash she believes they charge way too much...not to mention the wait! I told her that you usually have to wait when asking machines to wash your clothes.

This Laundromat might be a little different from ones you’ve experienced. To begin, it doesn’t even open until 2 pm. To be clear, the doors are open and people have reserved their machines by stuffing their clothes inside. Jenn even saw a women forcing a very large wedding dress into one of the washers. If only I had left the camera with her today!

To operate, the Laundromat borrows enough power from the local block to power it’s generator which in turn powers the machines for the rest of the afternoon.

As the story continues Jenn was too cheap and too impatient to pay for a second drying cycle. She headed home on a moto with a sack of damp clothes. Her moto was blocked in the road by a fallen tree. Not accidental. The tree had been cut down in the middle of the day on the second-most major road in Cap Haitien. A single man was perched at the tip of the tree hacking away with a machete while traffic bottlenecked. A team of soldiers casually stood around the tree, talking, passing the time. Perhaps the tree belonged to Mr. Machete Man and the army was protecting him from anyone who might one to hack off a piece for themselves… Anything is possible in Ayiti.

We’ve had a series of other adventures including taking Hannah to a ballet class and having tea with the UN. But that's all for now. 

Still bursting at the seems with peace, joy, and gratitude. Can’t wait for tomorrow.


  1. I can't wait for tomorrow too!!! Loved the post and would have loved to see that wedding dress at the laundromat!

  2. Wow, sounds like you guys are really getting to experience life in CAP. Kind of different than life on a compound? Good Luck guys, I'm sure you will figure it all out, even the laundromat!

  3. take care, love to read about your adventures!!!