July 3, 2010 Haiti
Update July 3, 2010
We are back from Santo Domingo! We had a good time with our staff, shopping for car parts (not my favorite!) along with food and house supplies. We took them to explore some big shopping malls. Wow! Were their eyes big! We stayed in a hotel and ate in restaurants, a first for three of them! Today, they are still trying to sort out what they experienced. Remember, they had never before seen anything except their little world within Haiti!
We were finished with our task early, so started on our way home on Thursday. Everything was going well until, eight miles after the Dominican border, into Haiti, we came upon a road block. We went through it and tried to continue, but there were many more road blocks with big trucks, tree branches and rocks and only one way out of the town. We were stuck!
We learned the Mayor and his Director had been arrested over a land dispute. A man claimed he had inherited 100 acres of land and he was taking it because he had sold it for development. He came with big tractors and began to clear the land, destroying the crops in the fields of the hard-working farmers. The Mayor and the people stood up for the farmers working the land.
The so-called owner paid the Judge to have the Mayor and his Director arrested. This had gone on for three weeks and the people in the town now demanded that their mayor be released. (Because the airwaves were filled with World Cup Soccer, no one outside this little town knew what was happening, so they decided they would let the rest of the country know what they were dealing with by blocking the roads until they were set free.) The Mayor was then released; He said he would not leave until they released the Director too.
In Haiti, when the people take the law into their own hands, often the police stand with the people, as in this case. They were helping to block the roads until authorities released the Mayor.
We were ‘outsiders’ and they knew it, but the police said if they let us through, they would have to do it for others also. We stopped outside of the police station, turned off the van and waited. The Haitians with us were starting to get nervous, sitting there on the street where the whole population was demonstrating. In our area, a demonstration like this would be violent, but this was calm, except for a few people!
The next thing we knew, out of nowhere, a man appeared to us and said he didn’t want us to be traumatized, so he would like to escort us to his home. He was an educated leader in the community. He got inside our car and took us to his house with a gated yard where we could park the van safely. We had total peace! We were so blessed! The next thing we knew, his family made up fresh beds in their own bedrooms and invited us to spend the night because they knew nothing was going to open up before morning. We actually slept a couple hours! Then we heard gunshots and we knew the authorities had come on the scene! The roads would be opened soon; the Mayor and his Director would be released!
We got up and left about 4:30 a.m. The roads were cleared and, because there was no traffic yet, we were back in our own yard at 6:00 Friday morning!
Every day is an adventure in this country! Continue to pray for wisdom…and safety!