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Thread: Travel from SD to Haiti

  1. #1
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    Default Travel from SD to Haiti

    I am traveling from USA by air to SD on the 15th of Feb. I plan to purchase a motorscooter in SD and travel west thru Jimani. Any advice. I am traveling fully self-contained and plan on helping remove debris and recover remains at several of the orphanages east of PaP. I am spending two weeks on this first trip and plan on returning in early April for a month. That is why the scooter makes sense.I have a place to safely store in SD while I "cycle" back to the states. Thanks. Tim

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    If you try to do that by scooter you may not make it. Its one of the leading causes of death over here.

    Forget the scooter and go by bus - caribe tours has a bus from Santo Domingo to Port Au Prince.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tim97005 View Post
    I am traveling from USA by air to SD on the 15th of Feb. I plan to purchase a motorscooter in SD and travel west thru Jimani. Any advice. I am traveling fully self-contained and plan on helping remove debris and recover remains at several of the orphanages east of PaP. I am spending two weeks on this first trip and plan on returning in early April for a month. That is why the scooter makes sense.I have a place to safely store in SD while I "cycle" back to the states. Thanks. Tim
    I drove into Port au Prince via Jimani on Sunday. Would definitely not advise you to make the trip by scooter. There are lots of heavy trucks on the road and once approaching PaP the traffic is unbelievable, if you don't know the city very well you should not attempt it.
    Bryan

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    Default alternate ideas

    So help me out: If I travel by bus from SD to PaP,is there any light duty transportation I can use to get around? Scooter or bicycle? Thanks. Tim

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    Quote Originally Posted by tim97005 View Post
    So help me out: If I travel by bus from SD to PaP,is there any light duty transportation I can use to get around? Scooter or bicycle? Thanks. Tim
    Do the organizations you are helping have transport/plans for you once you arrive in PauP?

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    No. I have decided to go solo and help where I can. I am a structural/civil engineer. And I have 35 years experience in construction. As well as experienced in living in extreme areas. Lower Yukon. I have worked with a NGO, volunteer groups over the last 40 years.

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    I admire your desire to help and it sounds like you have a useful skill that will be needed in the reconstruction phase. However, I strongly urge you not to go to Haiti on your own. Please take a look at this, written by an experienced relief professional.
    "Don't Go to Haiti"

    A friend who is in Haiti now and is employed by a UN relief agency reports eating nothing but granola bars and peanuts for meals. Logistics- dealing with questions like the very question you have- are a mess. Conditions are very difficult for those who have the support of NGOs, military and governemtn- people who are not new to disaster situations.

    Here is one volunteer registry, run by the Center for International Development Information.

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    There's also RedR

    Unless you speak Kreyol (French is not enough in Haiti), have local contacts or are under the aegis of an organisation already working in Haiti, fending for yourself will be near impossible.

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    I commend your desire to help however if you are not already attached to an NGO who has resources and experience in country then you risk becoming a burden.

    My company is running supplies from the DR to PAP for our staff and families and every trip from SD to PAP we are being burdened by well meaning volunteers. The reality is once they arrive in PAP they have no plan, lodging, means of transport or any real knowledge of what to do or where to go and then we end up having to support them!

    Security: It is becoming increasingly dangerous at night. Two days ago we had a Landcruiser stolen at gunpoint at 5pm at Croix de Bouquet which is an area that you will have to pass on your way into PAP from Jimani so plan to be through that area early in the day no later than 3 or 4pm because you will still have about 2 hours travel due to the congestion to get to Petion Ville before dark. It is relatively safe up in Petion Ville. However it is imperative that you have a secure location for your lodging sorted out prior to arriving in Haiti so that you are not on the streets at night and you have somewhere to secure your pack/bags during the day.

    Please don't come across on a Scooter, if the supply convoys don't run you over then the bad boys will take it off you. Additionally sections of the road heading into Jimani and the first section of road along the lake heading towards PAP are not suitable for a Scooter. If you were still that way inclined then a AG/Dirt Bike would make the trip and I am sure the bad boys would prefer a Dirt Bike over a scooter (they have their Reputation to think about).

    So far we have been very lucky with the weather. If we have a few days of rain the living conditions of the displaced people in the tent cities will become intolerable (not tents but bed sheet shantys). If that occurs then there is a chance that the civil unrest will increase and then you will want to have some real support behind you in that situation.

    My advice would be to Donate money to the Red Cross. Then apply for a job or volunterr position with an NGO and come across under their logistics and protection. Haiti can use your skills and experience however not as an unsupported individual on the ground at this stage (possibly in 3 months). By way of example - my vehicles have returned 3 well meaning volunteers back to SD over the last 4 days. They left due to the lack of clean drinking water and they had developed diarrea. One of them had his backpack stolen because he was not able to secure it during the day whilst he was working on "clearing debris".
    Anyway no one is knocking you for wanting to help and if you do get over here then take care and be safe.

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