Friday, June 01, 2012

A day in the life: The port of Pestel

What had been a four hour journey was now only a three and a half hour journey from Jeremie to Pestel. The Brazil-sponsored road improvements were beginning to speed travel and, more importantly, improve the lives of Haitians. We also stood to benefit. Shaving an hour of travel off our already long day of travel to Cayemite Island would help us get home before dark.

The road from the outskirts of Pestel to its port were narrow and filled with people. So for difficulty in movement and for safety, Zeze parked the car at the church and we hoofed it down the hill in search of a Captain for our destination. You can see Ed and Martha making the descent in the lower right corner:
The port was bustling with activity, but we were ok. We had our driver, Zeze, to help us score a boat with Captain!

Amy and Martha adjusting their bags:
In the foreground is the opposite side of Pestel Bay. In the distance is our destination: The Cayemite Islands!
Some of the boats were rather precariously loaded IMO. But that's a direct result of the poverty. The weather was beautiful this day, but if it was raining with stormy seas it may well have been similarly overloaded. And that's a recipe for disaster... something that happens too often when we see headlines of "Boats overturns in XYZ Sea, hundreds believed dead." It's a sad tale, but it continues to happen and won't change without a reduction in poverty.
Some Haitians are ingenius and industrious. This guy gathered a few sheets of plastic and carved out a log... then he was ready to tackle the ocean!
After about 15 to 20 minutes, Zeze had found us a boat with Captain and we had negotiated a price. It was $100 for a round trip out to the islands. That included about $50 for fuel @ $6 / gallon.

Thank you Zeze! Here's our group, clockwise starting with the orange head cover: Martha, Ed, Zeze and Amy:And off we go, on our three-hour tour...

Tim White

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