Standing up

I had a meeting in Central Haiti (Mirebalais) yesterday early evening. After work we jumped in a car and made the two hour drive without a problem. Due to strict curfew, when the meeting was completed, we stayed overnight at a local PIH house.

Early this morning, we headed back for work. About 90 minutes into our drive, we came to a road block. Local men had gathered rocks, placed them in the road and stood around telling all vehicles to turn around. They were peaceful but stated that if we tried to cross, “there would be trouble”.

Someone in the car said, “We are doctors trying to help kids in St. Mark. Could we pass so we can go save someone’s life.”

The protesters were not impressed. One replied, “I cannot let you pass. And if I did, there is just another block a few hundred feet away.”

We said, “Thank you for your time” and turned around. We drove to Port-Au-Prince and then north to St. Marc.

This was a significant inconvenience causing me to arrive three hours late to work. Despite the mild hardship, I fully understand why the locals are rising-up. A Haitian man was allegedly raped by four UN soldiers just a week ago (there is a video online of the assault) and a few young men in the community went missing last evening. The locals feel they have little power and the only way they can force people to pay attention is to stop traffic on a busy thoroughfare.

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