Sunday, December 22, 2013

Madame No!

Today is Sunday. Madame No! left here very early to get to the airport to pick up my sister & her kids, so I figured today was a good day to blog about her.

This is the name the airport ‘porters’ have given my mother. Anyone who has ever flown in to volunteer here probably know exactly where this is going and are chuckling already! Right?

So Haiti’s airport used to be super small, super scary, body to body people with one carousel for sometimes 2-3 jumbo jets to unload bags onto. You were lucky if you could move, mostly you hoped not to be squashed. That was 10 years ago.

Now they have ‘porters’. These are men permitted to wear the uniform to hope to help you with your bags. Unfortunately ‘helping’ can mean, ‘I walked beside your bags and touched them, so now I get a Kado’. And LOTS of them can sneak a hand onto your bags to ‘help’. Some will actually help, ALL will wish to be paid.

So my mom says NO to everyone who tries to help. She picks out one person, tells them they are hired and that they have to share with anyone else who helps, so then they of course try to keep everyone else from ‘helping’.

As I landed I realized, I had NO US money and the Haiti airport doesn’t have a cart holder that will take a cc, it’s a lady at a stand. So no cart for me. I can’t speak Creole so I can’t pick one guy to help and can’t pay anyone anyway, so I do the next best thing. Lex and I whip off our long sleeve shirts we had on (the plane was cold as is Miami airport – word of warning if you ever fly through Miami!) and tie 3 bags together to make a train. The boys pulling the trains don’t have nearly the same enthusiasm for my invention!

Train 1

Train 2

As we’re leaving and porters come toward us I tell them no and no and no, and stop people from touching our bags. I see my mom right outside, more porters come toward us I see one put a hand out to another and say something in Creole that ends in No. I’m impressed and confused. Later as we sit in the van my mom tells me she is now infamous at the airport as Madame No! LOL, that’s awesome!

Oh, and check out this ‘safe’ and totally illegal vehicle parked across from us at the airport. Police were standing beside us looking at it and then left. Don’t want to be on the road when this joker is!

You gotta be kidding me

2 comments:

Dickie MacDonald said...

I have seen vehicles with less driver visibility believe it or not in Haiti.

Sandra said...

I am amazed you got out without a lot of helpers touching your bags anyway! We can't seem to do that.
Hope you got all your goats and chickens rounded up and given away! Have fun with Liette and all her family with all the Haitian family. What a wonderful group of people!