On Thursday I went with Tobi and Andi to the bank in Saint-Marc to withdraw a few more dollars just to make sure I had enough. And that was the start of my little adventure – the clinic vehicles were already underway in the direction of the city. We therefore had to rely on public transport, that is motorcycles and tap taps. My only thought was: “What could possibly go wrong? I’m with two cool doctors who know their way around and speak the language.” On my own, it would have been foolish indeed! Outside of the clinic, little English is spoken and a sense of helplessness can overtake one very quickly. But as I said, I was lucky in that sense. So off we went, the first stretch with the motorcycle and the second with the tap tap – right on top of the driver’s cab. That is quite an experience, because the driver really steps on the gas and you have to hold on for sure! After about 40 minutes, we had reached Saint-Marc – and stood in the midst of a bustling crowd.
Our first route took us to a soft ice cream vendor and, believe it or not, there was even a heavily armed security guard standing in front of that with his pump-action shotgun! I even heard that such guards are posted in front of every air-conditioned room with a cash register.
Then we went on to the bank. Even more “minders” were standing around and seemed to be protecting nothing but an OUT OF ORDER (!) ATM. O well, no problem, there is, after all, another bank in town. When we arrived at the second bank, the first thing we had to do was wait – 1½ hours later, it was finally our turn (the line in front of us – 3 persons – was apparently “huge” …that’s Haiti). But then we got the sobering news: there was no money available. Andi was quite upset, as his stay was to last several more weeks and he was completely out of cash. A call to his bank in Germany didn’t help either – incorrect data transmission. Just great! Nothing for it, but to be thrifty!
Somewhat disappointed, we started looking for a tap tap to take us home. We purchased just a few bags of water for the road and left for home. Tobi glanced briefly at the sky and said only: “We’ll be soaked!” And down it came. Suddenly the driver stopped and his helpers started pulling a tarpaulin over us. So now we also had to hold up the tarpaulin in the overcrowded tap tap and try not to get too wet… we failed at that! The excursion was actually a blast, but I was really wiped out afterwards.