Your average Thursday afternoon.

The long drive from Santo Domingo to Haiti was filled with twists, turns, a little mis-direction, beauty and absolute chaos at the border. I set out around 5 a.m. to drive from Santo Domingo to Port-au-Prince through the countryside of the DR and Haiti with just myself, car, and some great 70s rock on my ipod. It was a beautiful day, minimal traffic, major speed bumps, and unquestionable sites along the route.

I had heard numerous stories of people driving back and forth from the DR to Haiti bringing supplies to aid the massive amount of people in IDP camps, but today was quiet. As I took the various turns through small towns and somehow navigated due west, I imagined what it was like during the first weeks after the earthquake and the people who saved lives that drove the same road I was now on. Today was so calm with a couple of cars and trucks driving along, children playing in the towns; business as normal.

As I neared the border, the road narrowed and followed a canopy of trees for miles and miles. It was one of the most beautiful stretches of road I have been on, just 30 minutes or so from the border. The site in itself was the exact opposite from what I had seen in Haiti, as trees are an afterthought since most of the country has been deforested by the people.

I soon arrived at the border and immediately noticed the masses of people, markets, trucks, and food. The road immediately degraded as I approached, people where pushing wheel barrels full of food and goods back to through the border, and trucks were lined up selling everything under the sun. It was my first time at Jimani, and my instincts told me to follow the nice Land Cruiser in front of me. Thankfully I did just that and made it to the immigration building and customs.

The massive amount of labor that was going on around my car was something out of the movies. There were people and cars everywhere trying to fit through the small border gate, all jockeying for position. It was a game of inches. I was back in Haiti, a country still struggling to gain direction.

The strain on the arms, legs, and eyes of the people was evident. The sweat poured down their faces as they carried 30 lb bags of food back and forth. The landscaped had changed, the people, the strife, the survival of it all. Words cannot do justice.

This nice peaceful drive now became a canvas of poverty, despair, and death. It was back to reality, back to the grind. Haiti still needs help in many ways! Don’t forget about these people, they are amazing and resilient!

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