Dear Friends -
You aren’t going to believe this, and neither do I. But truth is often stranger than fiction. Back in January we, along with the rest of the world, were shocked at the destruction and devastation the earthquake of January 12 brought to the impoverished nation of Haiti and especially to Port au Prince. So we bought and in February sent a container to Haiti loaded with medical supplies, construction supplies, soap, and donated one of our Ford vans. Many of you donated money and supplies, too. The supplies were in the container. The container was going to be used as a medical clinic, the van as an ambulance. So - what could possibly go wrong?
After an arduous trip via the Dominican Republic (the harbor in Port au Prince was trashed, too) and numerous delays, the container made it to the border by April, where it was held up by Haitian Customs. Mathilde Wilson, the indefatigable leader of Haiti Community Support, made trip after trip to the border to attempt to release the container. Finally, in June (!) she succeeded and the container was able to be unloaded.
But a small hiccup. The supplies were released. Not the van nor the container. Customs has held firm. HCS is welcome to the van for a “fee” of $5,000. Mathilde adamantly said “no”, Customs said “yes”.
And it is now August and the van and container still sit.
I guess maybe I am a little naive and believe Haiti would welcome all the aid it can get and be more open. But it appears not. The old system of corrupt officials is alive and well. Unbelievable, no?
Or, as the man said , “Let no good deed go unpunished”. I guess our next move will be to try to get the van and container shipped back. Stay tuned!
Douglas A. J. Mockett
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