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The Traffic Stop

When I was in Haiti, we spent some time working with an orphanage near Croix-des-Bouquets. As we drove back to our village we were in a large passenger van, and because I am also a large passenger, I was offered the front seat.

Between the orphanage and the village was a military checkpoint. As we passed through the checkpoint, we were stopped by a soldier with a gun. People make fun of Americans for being gun-happy, and I suppose as a culture we are, but this American at least did not particularly enjoy being stopped by a man carrying an automatic rifle as though he is quite familiar with its operation.

He and our driver began conversing in Creole. Disconcertingly, it seemed that he was occasionally gesturing at me. They had a conversation, then the leader of our group stuck his head up from the back of the van and joined the conversation. They talked for a bit, then waved us on.

I was later informed that the soldiers at the checkpoint thought I was being kidnapped. It seems that sometimes tourists in the Dominican Republic (the richer part of the island) will take a taxi, and said taxi will, instead of taking them to their destination, take them into Haiti where they will never be seen or heard from again.

Fortunately this was not the case, and we were able to continue on our merry way.


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