In case you've ever wondered, that quote from 'The Sugar Islands' on the top left corner of our blog is supposed to be tongue-in-cheek. We love being able to tell people that in four and a half years we've never had a security 'incident' here. Not one. Not even here in the "poorest country in the Western Hemisphere." Haiti is perceived by so many as a lawless, savage and dangerous place. That perception is fueled by the State Department, by the media (check this and this out for two especially over-the-top examples), by NGO and UN security restrictions and red zones. In reality, where I grew up in West Africa and nearly every other country in Latin America have much higher rates of violent crime - especially crime that targets foreigners.
We don't have a car -- I walk or take public transport to get around and Ben drives a motorcycle. We don't have a security guard. We try not to take unnecessary risks but we don't feel unsafe. Aside from unknowingly having my pockets picked a time or two in a crowd, we have never had any untoward experiences.
Unfortunately, that changed last night while Ben was driving a friend home. They passed a group of street kids
fighting at Place St Pierre, across from the cathedral. One threw another one in front of Ben's
moto and he wrecked on top of the kid. After they pulled the bike off of him (the kid was fine, more or less), five of them jumped Ben. His pockets were emptied and he gained a long razor blade slash in the leg while another one took off on Ben's moto. The moto came
back, thank god, and Ben went to the police (stationed one block away). They shrugged.
(We've put a temporary block on Ben's phone number until he can replace his phone, so use email if you need to reach him).
It feels pretty icky. Hopefully, it won't also feel like tetanus.