Okay. I’m just kidding with the title of this blog – more about that later! Today was “take our truck across the border into the Dominican Republic” day. We’re allowed to do this for only one reason. Booz (pronounced Boze), a favorite friend of ours here in Haiti, has great favor with the Dominican border guards and officials. It’s a wonder what his friends along the border and a few dollars of cash in the right hands can do to help that truck make it across the bridge. The first step getting through the main gate involved 500 pesos ($10.70, if you round up the last digit) for the officials at the main gate. Then another 100 feet or so later there was another 100 pesos ($2.10) for the small gate with the guards and guns.
From there we were off to get the truck brakes adjusted. The workmanship of the Dominican mechanics is fantastic! It only took 45 minutes to complete, with the amazingly low price of 600 pesos ($12.83). Then Booz and I shopped for a few food supplies and had a well-deserved piece of delicious fried chicken with fried plantains. One interesting thing I found out today is there’s at least one stoplight in town now, and I managed to run it! I wasn’t trying to run the light. It’s just that I’ve never seen a stoplight here for the entire 20 years I’ve been coming! No one seemed too upset about me running the light, however, because a lot of people who live here run the light on purpose.
Booz and I then returned through the “soldier gate” where we waited at Dominican Customs & Immigration for our group coming down from America. We eventually found out that the flight from America was delayed. So, it was back through the soldier gate to make reservations for our group at a hotel. You are correct. This took another 50 pesos ($1.05) to go 2 blocks to the hotel. As we made our last pass through the soldier gate and the main bridge gate, I thought we were home free. Then on the Haitian side, another 50 pesos were required to get through the last tiny gate. We spent $10.70+$2.10+$1.05+$1.05 = $14.90 for bribes for a $12.83 brake job. All in all though, it was a great day. It probably would have cost over a $100 to have the brakes adjusted in the U.S., and it would have cost thousands of dollars to ship the truck to America and back to Haiti (JUST KIDDING)!
I am meticulous about keeping receipts for everything. I want people to know that Aslan is a ministry that deals honestly with all the gifts given to us. As I was going through one of the gates, I had the fleeting comical thought that I should say, “Excuse me, gentlemen. Could I please get a receipt for these bribes?” As my grandmother used to say, “Craig, you need to leave well enough alone!” Since I’ll be crossing the border again in the morning to pick up our group coming to Haiti, I think it’s a good idea for me to take my Granny’s advice!
Every border crossing between the Haiti and the Dominican Republic is a “God adventure.” I thank Him for watching over our many Aslan volunteers who come to Haiti, and also our many friends on both sides of the Island of Hispaniola
Till next time!