From Todd on 1/7/10. Keep checking on this entry for updates. Follow him on spot-tracker here: http://lacolombe.com/pages/sourcing
Rarely are border crossings in places like Haiti simple – if not for the general mayhem it is the official complications – Haiti is no exception. Haiti, like Africa is made of armed red tape. Yet what is striking about this crossing – outside the thousands flooding in from where I’m going – is the new certitude in all of them that nothing will ever change – they tell me, “we have been cursed”. They point to the fish floating dead in the lake beside us, they point to the flooded and crushed buildings, they point to the VOTE signs everywhere, crude pictures of smiling men in suit and tie, something strange in their eyes.
It’s easy even for me to fall into that same hopelessness if not for the remarkable human drive to exchange. Heavy loads of cane, root, rice and vanilla come streaming over the boarder as if pouring down from the mountains. Impossibly large sacks balanced on heads – tons. And in all of the mayhem – maybe 5,000 strong – I see only hyper- determined people buying and selling, a swarm of mankind at a border, exchanging.
If 10 people needed wire hangers here – there would a man selling wire hangers – fashioned from who knows what and it would be his lifeblood. Demand is the ruler here, and in that, there is always hope.
Hours later, now past the border and grinding my way into the mountains (sucking sugarcane) I assure you, to desire a coffee from this country – in a real way – and it too will come flooding down the mountains – turning curses to hope.