To say i was bit pissed off yesterday would be the mother of all understatements.
My HODR shuttle-bus completely fails to pick me up from the International Airport. They have my telephone number, but I receive no call from them, and as I have no number for my liaison guy, i am caught in a five hour state of limbo.
To add insult to injury, I have to endure vitriol abuse from a Haitian guide/translator who demands money with menaces. Pepe drops me off at 12pm and I am told the bus will pick up at 2.45pm, so I am kinda expecting a bit of a wait anyway. A large and burly Haitian guide/translator is hanging out and asks what i´m doing, so i explain i´m waiting for my pick-up to Leogane and he follows me into a shaded area where I sit and wait. He disappears off and i just hang out.
After an hour he comes up to me and tells me he is leaving, so I shake his hand and bid him au revoir. He asks for payment, so I ask him what for. He goes completely nuts at me aggressively calling me every swear word under the sun and shouting abuse in English, French and Creole. “You fucking fucker! Get out of my fucking country you mother-fucker”. His eyes are large and wild, and saliva shoots in all directions from his offensive mouth. I continue to passively sit there, pretending i´m not completely shitting bricks.
A group of Haitians gather at this explosion. He tells them in French that he has been working for me and I am refusing him payment. “Non – c ést ne vrai pas” i say in my own defense. He then continues his vitriolic onslaught claiming that I also bought crack cocaine off him. I act all indignant at this as Haitian eyes widen further. “Jai fume cigarette solomento” I say in my best French/Espanyol and waving my half empty packet of JPS. One of the locals asks me in perfect English if there is any truth in this madman´s story, so I explain to him i don´t know who the hell this guy is. He asks me to give the guy two dollars, which i don´t have, so i explain that I can´t give 2 bucks to any madman who approaches me. The madman is bundled away from me whilst my savior tells me i should be real careful who i speak to, to which i agree whole-heartedly and thank him for his assistance.
However my “savior” hasn´t quite finished with me yet. He asks me if I am a follower of Jesus Christ. Now i have learnt the hard way on my travels that in religious countries saying one is an atheist is never a good idea. I could say i´m Jewish, but on this occasion I plump for Buddhist (philosophy rather than religious so it is not a complete lie). My Savior goes ballistic at me. Don´t I understand that Jesus died for me? Didn´t i realize that by not following Jesus I am condemning myself, him and the World population to eternal damnation? “Drink his blood and be baptized!” he squawks at me pointing a violent index finger at my face. Haitians can clearly be very passionate. I can´t be doing with this so hastily make a retreat out into the sun.
Next, i meet the 12 year old Lance. He tells me his story through a combination of English, French and Spanish. He lives at the airport. He loves school, but that also has been demolished in the quake. He has no-one and apart from a small orange pack on his back he has nothing. He is very curious about pretty much everything.
He asks if i know David Beckham and we spend an hour or so talking about the World Cup, being a teacher and life in Britain. He almost wets himself with excitement when I tell him I have come from a British winter where there is snow. He asks me to describe what it´s like. He is determined to visit so I pass him my parents address and telephone number and he is one very happy kid. He remains my companion for the rest of the afternoon. I really do not have any small money, but I willingly hand over 1 of my 2 bottles of water that I have.
I get talking with Martine, a New Yorker born in PaP. She shows great sympathy with my plight and passes on details about an orphanage she has set up. At least this now gives me another option, probably more suitable to me than the HODR construction project in Leogane.
Come 5pm, dehydrated and hungry, i call Frere Pepe to explain what has happened and my bro comes to my aid within 30 minutes and we head back up to the sanctity of the Kinam Hotel. There is now no room at the inn, so he takes me to the cheaper and much less salubrious Doux Sejour Hotel nearby. No swimming pool, no Wi-Fi and no awesome green pepper steaks. I can´t find an Internet café nearby to make contact with HODR but I will send them another email to find out what happened, as well as make contact with Edison about his newly established orphanage here in Port au Prince, and indeed I now have got another orphanage contact here through Martine which i´ll also check out.
Not for the first time on this trip I ask myself what the hell i am doing here. However, Guardian Angel tells me it is part of my path. GA is always right and who am I to argue with such a celestial being?