Saturday, February 27, 2010

With Open Eyes

Whenever I travel I try to always approach the new destination with open eyes and with very little expectations. Though Haiti is a popular topic in the media and everywhere for that matter, I still went with little expectations of what I would see. It was very important for me to have a completely (one could never really have a completely anything) objective analysis of what was happening, for my own sake and for the sake of the job that we, my NGO, intends to do there.

We left Santo Domingo on Sunday at 5 in the morning. Our mission was to strictly analyze and make contacts with the folks that we would later work with. We arrived to Jimani and immediately began to work on our contacts. Next thing you know, we were crossing the border into Haiti, which was an experience all on it’s own. They didn’t check my passport and some of the guards said that they really like my smile and that I was the most beautiful woman that had crossed that day. I honestly wasn’t flattered; I was rather shocked at how loosely immigration is regulated there. I have my own particular views on borders, which I won’t discuss in too many details at the moment, but know that for me the most important part of controlling migratory flows between two countries that differ greatly in socioeconomic opportunities, is the trafficking and smuggling on innocent people.

There is a small piece of land between the countries that is literally no-man’s-land. Here people live and actually sell things at a market. Now seriously picture this (or just look at the picture), there are some Dominican guards on one side, Haitians on the other and a busy marketplace in between, crazy and chaotic, I know.

We only went 20 miles into Haiti and during that time there were zero checkpoints.

To be continued…

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