Haiti Travelogue: A Night With Wyclef and a Day in the Sun
Westword reporter went to Haiti for his recent feature story "The Social Conscience of a Missionary." Be sure to check back in for the next few days as he recounts his personal journey through the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
After the Christmas party for 10,000 kids, the ICOF team, minus Terrance, hustled to make it to the Wyclef show downtown, where about 100,000 people had gathered. Terrance had warned us so many times about security that everyone seemed a little jumpy on a Saturday night in Port-Au-Prince. First, the car battery died. Then we ran out of gas. Then the brakes stopped working. Although cops were all over the perimeter of the event, there was no security among the sea of people inside.
As we got there, Dan took my picture. I asked him not too. There were 100,000 people there and aside from a small press contingent, I was the only white one. I had plenty of flash and didn’t need any more.
First we were so far off that we couldn’t see the stage. The one rule was don’t split up, but we did. Eventually we met back at another one of Dan’s friend’s trucks. He took us to a bar in the rich part of town where the bourgeoisie live. U.N. workers were partying with prostitutes from the Dominican Republic.
We stayed the night comfortably in Dan’s friends' home and went to the beach the next day. Everyone felt safe, no doubt because the pricey beach admission keeps the majority of the country from enjoying it. Tourism used to be big industry in Haiti, not anymore. Nowadays, a lot of the coasts are privately owned, too. It was a lovely day of relaxation that we all greatly needed.
In the meantime, Terrance had gone to church with Dan’s parents and spoken to the congregation about overcoming the street life and prison in the United States. Some of the orphan girls asked him to adopt them.
-- Luke Turf