As I mentioned in a previous blog, when I was ask by host organization if I would be interested in working in the Dominican Republic fears and concerns poured in from all and sundry because of the race relations between DR and Haitian. As such, I was cautioned to ensure that I took care so as not to be perceived as a Haitian. I was further cautioned not to go near the Haitian border as I run the risk of being mistakenly scooped up and ‘dumped’ on the other side. More important than that, I was told of how dangerous the boarder was and I run the risk of being mugged, kidnapped or even killed by those ‘savage Haitians’.
Of course, being an explorer by nature and with a ‘doubtful Tom’ mentality, I needed empirical evidence. [And] so, the more I was warned of the dangers of the ‘other side’, the more determined I became to see for myself.
I started planning my trip; I hinted to loved one of my intention to go, recruited my soul twin to accompany me, found accommodation and booked my ticket. Equipped with the horror stories I was told and what I had seen on the media, I expected the worst. I boarded the bus with one objective, to stay awake and alert – epic fail I was nudged by the conductor when we got to the border as I needed to get off the bus and get my passport checked by immigration.
What I saw when I got off the bus… hustlers, peddlers, people determined to make ends meet, children dancing and ready to entertain; a vibrant culture. Not the faces of starving emaciated children. It didn’t reek of poverty and destitution; and I definitely. I began to scan the environment with one thought, ‘what does one do after ignoring the warnings and venturing out into the forbidden world? Duh!! … you take out your camera! Exhibit A for the naysayers