The road to the border is a straight shot. Closer and closer towards the fence the pavement turns dusty. There is a thin cement bridge that can barely handle two-way traffic, not-withstanding motorcycles and wheelbarrows, which carry huge bundles of clothes and items for sale on market days. The bridge connects two banks of a shallow river, whose source is in the mountains and whose mouth touches the sea.
It is not difficult to get stamped into Haiti and out of the D.R. nor is it a challenge find a motorcycle taxi. What is challenging upon arrival is socially navigating tricksters who don’t speak your language, and are looking to squeeze your wallet dry. Since landing in Santo Domingo we’ve had to shake off at least one man who was looking for some gratuity for walking us through streets -- a service we did not require nor request. I was warned that that would be part of the experience.
Passing quickly through this small town in Haiti for the first time, moving quickly off of paved roads and onto dirt paths, I take in its charm: some of the cement buildings and huts are colorful, there are a few murals, and everyone is outside with their families, noticing you noticing them. Children wave, grandmothers sit nearby their grandkids. The air is warm with affection, curiosity, mystery, and possibility.
Finally being there was relieving, it cast the sense of arrival, and of staying. Yet from this place and within me was deeper sense of unease, like an open wound.