A Trip to Gwo Roch

Last night Chris and I did something that I never thought I would be doing in Haiti any time soon…we went camping! Actually we slept in a tent in our friends back yard, but for Haiti, that’s about as close to the real thing as I’d want to get. Wait a second, there was an outhouse and a fire pit that we used for cooking dinner…This morning we woke up and marveled at the modern technological advances in tent manufacturing that have been made compared to what we remember our parents owning “back in the day”. It rained all night and I kept waking up panicking with the thought that there was probably a stream running by us or right under us, but nope, we were dry and cozy. The UN fly over at some point in the night that nearly gave me a heart attack wasn’t so fun. Seriously, do they know what it’s like to wake up out of a dead sleep to what sounds like a chopper landing right on top of you?!?!


We had a great trip out to Gwo Roch to see Nels & Matt and their families. Our guys loaded up the truck the day before with 15 filters and all the sand, gravel, lids and other stuff so that Nels & Matt can get a good start on their prison project. They live in a small Haitian house, divided between their two families (Matt’s wife is Nels’ daughter). They have no electricity, no running water and essentially live just like their Haitian neighbors. It was great to visit with them and to share experiences with each other.

I took both of my cameras yesterday and got some great pictures, but unfortunately can only share about half of them because my digital camera battery is on the fritz and my other camera is a 35 mm old school film that will need to get developed. I thought that I would just post a bunch of pictures so that you could see some of the stuff that I saw and I’ll fill in the blanks where necessary.

Disclaimer: Some photos were taken through a dirty front windshield, so for all of you photographic types, I apologize for the less than perfect quality. If you’ve ever driven with my husband you’ll understand the need to snap it while you can because it won’t be there for very long.

Hitting the road with filters in tow.

Cabaret post Flag Day.

Expanding suburb.

Leslie…Lesly…Yeah, I think it’s kind of fun too. These are actually gambling huts – because there is sooo much extra cash floating around here that people just don’t know what to do with all of it.

Like so many others everyday, just sitting watching the world go by.

Not really an ambulance…just in case the folding chairs didn’t give it away. Actually, I shouldn’t speak so soon – maybe when he’s not packing chairs the vehicle could be available for the odd hospital run.

You should see them when they don’t use their hands.

Before…some resemblance of order as people wait for public transit of some sort.

Public transit arrives – order disappears. They aren’t pushing the tap tap, they’re pushing to get on the tap tap. Believe it or not, most of them probably did.

A welcome sight. We’re starting to see garbage cans, garbage dumpsters, garbage trucks, and clean up crews around Port au Prince, which is such an encouragement.

Hmmm…something doesn’t belong here…oh wait! The pretty street lights. Now if we could only get regular power…

Gutter mud. Yes, the black stuff. I can’t even begin to try to tell you what it smelled like. If anything, living here always gives your nose something to do.

The Port au Prince market. We were actually pretty happy with the trip by this point because we were able to take Route 1 National further than we have in a long time because it’s getting safer.

Entering Carrfour (car-foo).

Try to count the number of people that you can see in just the back window, I dare you! Then multiply that by however many rows a bus actually has. We call that traveling in comfort. Okay, no we don’t.

Has your Sealy worn out? No worries, we have lots of variety here.
Mr. Green Water Tank Man and his driving buddy decided they had to show us what they were made of and pass us with less than perfect driving skills, only to stop traffic completely a couple minutes later because they lost something…

A market area with a welcoming cow and trash heap.

Ocean view.

En route to Leogane.

It’s blurry, I apologize. The highlight of the pic is not actually the people, but rather the partially concealed sign – the speed limit sign. Who knew these actually existed in this country?!!?

A pretty picture of a horse, some rebar and miles of sugar cane. It was beautiful.

An interesting statue of a slave fighter on the top of the police building in Leogane.

Road side property.

Yes, you are still looking at Haiti. I know the lines on the road and the guard rail probably threw you for a second. No worries, it threw me for the entire trip. It was like driving in a completely different country where people know which side of the road they’re supposed to drive on.

After this my battery died and I switched to film. The trip was great. I loved having an opportunity to get out and see a different part of the country. I realized that while we may live closer to some cities, we actually live in one of the harder parts of the country. I kept my ears open while we were driving through places like Leogane and Ti Gouave and I heard very few “Blan” which was refreshing. Half the time people didn’t even pay attention to us.

I always thought that the rest of the country looked like our area (when I say area I mean from Port au Prince to St. Marc) with burned off hillsides that have a hard time even growing scrub brush. Not true! After we left Carrfour things were so green. There were miles and miles of sugar cane growing and the mountains had trees. Granted, not as many as they once did, but things were growing and green. The trees that were there were big. It actually reminded me of Jamaica in parts which totally surprised me. It was so much cooler too. It helped that there was rain in the air, but as we got higher up into the mountain areas where there were more growing things the air was fresher and so much nicer. The view from some places was amazing, but unfortunately those pictures are on my other camera.

Chris and I have a trip to Jacmel planned for our anniversary in about a month and I’m so excited to go explore some more of the country. I was reminded this weekend that despite everything that goes on here, Haiti is still yon bel paye.

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This entry was posted in this is haiti, this is life, travels and adventures by Leslie. Bookmark the permalink.

About Leslie

I'm Leslie. Wife. Mother. Missionary. In the day to day my husband and I are responsible for running Clean Water for Haiti, a humanitarian mission that builds and distributes water filters to Haitian families. Living in Haiti full time provides lots of stories, and as I tell my husband, our grandkids probably won't believe most of them. Maybe writing them down will give me some credibility.

3 thoughts on “A Trip to Gwo Roch

  1. I love hearing about all the different parts of the country. I have never been out of PAP and LOVE to see the pics of the “country” Haiti(:

  2. Leslie,I enjoy reading your blog and seeing different pictures of what Haiti really looks like.Keep up the good work.Marie

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