June 29, 2012

Finding the Heart of Haiti in its Backroads

Finding the Heart of Haiti in its Backroads

This week I visited the Hinche branch, the smallest one in the country. I enjoy the rural areas because they are noticeably more peaceful and safer than Port-au-Prince, and I especially enjoy them because of the people’s demeanor. In Port-au-Prince, you often find people seeking money for unvalued services: carrying your bags when you want to carry them yourself, pointing to a parking spot you already wanted, etc. In the countryside, however, I met people who helped fix our motorcycle and did not expect the slightest payment. One example of this selfless service comes from Pierre, the only loan officer in the Hinche office.

Clients are far flung across Hinche and the surrounding areas, requiring up to two hours of unpaved roads and traversing multiple creeks just to get to their homes. Without hesitation, Pierre drove me up and down the countryside on his motorcycle to help me find these clients. The hot sun directly above our heads burned my arms as I sat on the back of that motorcycle, and the long, dusty day made me very thirsty and hungry. At the end, Pierre took me to his humble home and offered me a plate of rice and beans. He had already given me a considerable amount of help, but this last gesture helped ease the hard day and see the charitable nature of the Haitian people.