Arriving in Thomonde
By Julie Megler
After a grueling three hours of waiting for a new part to fix a mechanical problem in our American Airlines flight from Ft. Lauderdale to Port Au Prince, and a short hour and twenty minute flight we found ourselves eagerly holding our passports in Haiti’s customs line. Once through customs it was a free for all with hundreds of people bussling about asking to carry our baggage or if we needed a taxi. Marie Chery’s familiar face popped up and led us to the white 4×4 Toyota that would be transporting us to Thomonde.
Driving from the airport I was met with the familiarity of poverty. It’s amazing how across cultures it has the same appearance and smell as it does on the other side of the world. As we pulled out of the airport parking lot there was a run down UN truck putting behind us before it was engulfed by a crowd. The drive from Port Au Prince to Thomonde was a rugged three hours through the mountains of the central plateau. Our drive began around sunset leaving most of the country side in a mystery as we drove through the darkness. Lots of bouncing around with fast accelerations, and sudden dramatic stops in attempt to slowly roll over immense pot holes. I’m always fascinated to see that in countries like Haiti, cars have the right of way over pedestrians. A mere tap of the horn to tell someone to get out of the way because they aren’t slowing down. We passed through Cange, where Dr. Paul Farmer started the Partner’s in Health clinic.
Once in Thomonde we were welcomed by Project Medishare staff with an amazing meal of fried plantain, rice and bean, chicken, pasta (macaroni au gratin), and cabbage waiting. The accommodations are simple, but clean and comfortable. We were pleasantly surprised to see that power was generated through the night, although the rest of town was still powerless. I giggled as I prepared myself for my first night of sleep, and looked over to find my friend Ms. Preying Mantis watching me as I brushed my teeth. My sleep was immaculate until about 4:30 a.m. Awaken by startling cries of a goat outside my window I found myself lying on a deflated mattress on the cold tile floor.