HNOW in Haiti: Traffic Jam
On our way home from my mother house we were greeted by a 3 hour traffic jam that was the most agonizing experience of my New Yorker life. I'm confident that if Haiti had traffic lights, life would've been easier! We were one hour into the traffic jam in an area between Miragoane and a neighboring town, Leogane. When the sun set, I met what I call "Advanced Darkness." Without the sun, the night time is so dark that its almost tangible. You might as well just close your eyes.
There we were in the Advanced Darkness with only the lights from the highbeams of the camyonets, cars and motorcycles lighting our way. My driver got impatient and says to us "I don't know this area too well, but I'm going to go in this town anyways. Hopefully we can go around this traffic jam." I was upset. The nerve of him to carry two Americans in his vehicle through a place he didn't even know in the Advanced Darkness!
When the sun goes down, homes in smaller towns lose electricity, and there are no streetlights. We were traveling on this unknown road, hoping it would take us around the traffic jam, in the dark. We couldn't see what was ahead, so we depended on the tail lights of a car ahead of us to guide our way. We didn't know where that driver was going, but we followed him in hopes that they were avoiding the traffic jam as well. Well sadly for us, that driver went too fast, and we lost him when we hit a fork in the road in the unknown land in the Advanced Darkness. We went to the right because left didnt feel right. Intuition was all we had.
As we went on, townspeople stood on the sides and watched us pass by. I saw them and they saw my American ass. My phone was dead, my camera was now dead, and I was afraid. It was 6pm and pitch black and I didn't know where I was. Thankfully we found the main road, and were greeted by the same traffic jam meaning this blockage went back for miles!
During our second hour, my driver grew impatient again, and decided to drive on the side of the road. My dad, who drives for a living, asked him not to do that and to wait in the lane like everyone else. My driver said we'd be fine. Two minutes later, we see a police officer ahead of us checking licenses and insurance papers. He walks up to our window and asks for our documents. The officer takes one look at the license, puts it in his pocket and walks away! The police officer stole my driver's license! I've never experienced this before, so I'm quiet out of fear and confusion. Everyone in the car is quiet . My driver's face turns cold, and we're all just - quiet. He gets out of the car in search of the officer with his license. As he was getting out, the police officer returns.
To help paint the picture for you, police officers in Haiti don't carry 9mm firearms in a holster on their waist like in the US. They carry AK47 looking guns in their hands. The police office walks to the passenger seat window, where I'm seated. My driver proceeds to argue with this officer because we were not the only cars driving on the side of the road, and it was unfair that the cop confiscated our documents. But it doesn't matter what's fair. If a cop does you wrong, who are you going to call?? They were going at it for about 4 minutes with me sitting in between, quiet.
I kept my eyes forward. Where I'm from, black civilians don't argue with cops and live to tell the story. Here was this whole cop, standing close enough for me to see his sweat, with a whole AK47 in his hand, arguing with my driver across the car. Thank God he returned the licence to my driver. We spent the last hour of the traffic jam giving our driver the roast of his life! Next time you want to argue with a cop, do it without the Americans in the car, and make sure the guy with the gun stands on your side of the car! MERDE!