Woke up this morning at 3am in Santo Domingo in order to take the mini-bus at 4am to Port-au-Prince. There were 10 of us in a 9 person mini-bus plus luggage. The roads in the Dominican Republic seemed to be pretty good, I was nodding off most of the way to the border. We got to the border around 9am and the DR side is crazy. Trucks are everywhere, tons of people walking around, we were just waved through, the border seems to be completely open, didn’t even check our passports. We got to the outskirts of Port-au-Prince fairly quickly and I was thinking we’d make it to the hospital by noon at the latest, wrong. Traffic in town is awful, at times we probably sat for 10-20 minutes without moving an inch, and the mini-bus overheated 3 times. At first the destruction didn’t look so bad, then we got deeper into the city and it is unbelievable. The places where our mini-bus overheated seemed to be some of the hardest hit areas. Buildings are flattened, ones that are standing look like they could fall over at any moment. People are living all over, there are tent cities in what look like old parks, there are tent cities in the medians of roads. There seems to be very little heavy machinery, I think I saw one bulldozer and one backhoe. We did see some troops, French, USA, Spanish, Italian.
February 15, 2010
We were almost at the hospital when we had to drive up what was basically a stream. A gravel road, very large gravel, with water running down it. We came to one part where the driver had to gun it to get through without getting stuck and the spare tire was ripped off. It sounded awful, I thought we had lost a wheel or an axle was damaged.
Finally we made it to the hospital, two kids immediately came up to me. One asked for money the other for food. One, I think his name is Claude, might end up being a character for us. He’s got a great smile and he’s really outgoing. We got our stuff upstairs, started to settle in, then took off to shoot an orthopedic surgery. A 95 year-old woman had broken her femur the day before, hopefully tomorrow we can talk to her and her family. We’ll have to find us a translater.