Thursday, February 22, 2007

A sign of life from the Free Republic

of Ile A Vache

We still are in Port Morgan at Ile a Vache, where, as rumour goes, people don't pay taxes and hardly obey the Haitian law. Why should they? They catch their own fish, harvest their own fruits and coconuts and potatoes and have no other infrastructure than 'bridle paths' where people and little horses and mules wall sometimes in line (there is hardly any room to pass). No electricity, water comes from a well. Haiti is almost an hour by motorboat from here.
Many stories are being told here. Which one should we believe?

Yesterday I visited the 'main village' called Madame Bernard for the second time. It takes a 'stiff walk' of more than one hour and a half to get there. And three liters of water and a liter of Coke (temperature is 30 degrees Celsius and more).
On Monday I visited the market. I've never been in Africa, but it felt like it. Yesterday I went to see an orphanage with 55 children, led by Soeur Flora. Twenty of them are handicapped (from autistic to spastic) and are taken care of twice a week by a postman from Quebec, who goes out swimming with them. It is sad to notice that these children are kept out of society and rejected by their parents, probably because people believe there is a curse on them. Therefore they also cannot go to the seashore on market days, to avoid confronting them with the people out there...
We plan to sail on to Cuba next Sunday. We will stay in Santiago shortly. The harbour seems to be really filthy... And we are looking forward to visit the archipelago west of the Sierra Maestra...