Sunday, February 9, 2014

Jammin moto taxi's in rural Haiti

My preferred mode of travel in Haiti is motorcycle taxis.  They're everywhere, faster than a car, cheap and can go where cars can't.  On a recent trip to Haiti I was tasked with doing a survey of water sources in 4 different communities, each hours apart.  We took a bus to Gonaives but then went to motorcycle taxis.  Buses you have to wait at the station until they are full before you can leave.  This can often take hours.  But where a bus would cost $3 a moto taxi might cost $6 for the same hour journey, still very reasonable.

The moto taxi drivers are often young men with a thirst for travel and adventure.  It amazes me how much they will endure for just a few dollar fare.  The roads are terrible and rattle every joint in your body to exhaustion and beyond. 

Every journey on a moto taxi in Haiti is an adventure.  In Port au Prince you will endure the thrill (or terror) of weaving in and out of traffic.  In the countryside you will experience cow paths at high speeds and river crossings without bridges.  These journeys on moto taxis have become a way of life for me and quite commonplace I guess.  But a recent journey from Petite Riviere de l'Artibonite to St
Michel was an eye-popping adventure of speed, scenery and culture.

My first attempt at capturing the moment was on the video camera on my phone. Then, after a stop I pulled out my camera and switched to video mode.  I'll upload the videos when I get a better internet connection.  For now I'll post a few photos...

Friday, February 7, 2014

A trip to Tibouk

Off the plane in Port au Prince I hopped a moto taxi to the other terminal.  I hopped another plane that took me to Cap Haitien where the journey was just beginning.  I had been asked by an American group to conduct a training in their adopted village in Haiti.  The objective was to teach them how to properly glue PVC pipe and install water meters.  It sounds like a simple and noble task but rarely do things go as planned in Haiti.

I caught a motorcycle into the City and managed to hook up with our pipe and materials on the same truck bound for Ti-Bouk!  Here it is with a most interesting door handle.

We needed a bit of gas to make the last leg of our journey (yep that's the gas tank, an old jug "mounted" under the cab)

We arrived in Tibouk to find that the supply pipelines from both springs had recently been smashed by a government road-building crew.  And since water meters don't work very well without water we changed our focus to fixing one of the supply pipelines.
And actually I didn't have to do much of the teaching on this trip.  I am now blessed with an awesome group of Haitian plumbers that we started in their training but have far surpassed us in their abilities and experience in the nuts and bolts activities of building water systems.  Here is Gidel teaching a local plumber to use primer and glue pipe properly.
Spending a few nights in Ti-bouk was a treat in village life.  Apparently our hosts thought I was the VIP with the heart-decoration on my bedspread - Gidel's bed was not nearly as decked out.

Water meter installed and back on a motorbike taxi to Cap Haitien and then 4-wheeler to Dondon for the night before returning to Port au Prince to manage the construction of a water connection for a new Marriott Hotel.  Life has been a roller coaster of work here in Haiti this past year.  I'll try to keep up with blog posts to keep all of you in the loop!