Off of the west coast of mainland Haiti is a little island tucked inside the Gulf of Gonave. The island of La Gonave is the home to Mapou Village, our own home away from home for eight days. Though only 15 miles away from where we arrived by boat, Mapou village is close to a 2 hour drive from the port city of Anse-a-galets.
Nestled in red clay mountains, most of the road is so rocky that we rarely can get out of second gear or go over 10 miles an hour, to keep the tires from popping or leaving part of the bumper embedded into the rocky ground. Only recently has the road been extended, rock by rock by the local villagers, to be able to accommodate trucks carrying missionary travelers to the village of Mapou.
In this mountainous, rocky village all their food is either grown through crops, fruit trees, or grains and animals at the local market. Each Wednesday, in the early morning hours, villagers from all over the island of La Gonave begin their trek by foot or by donkey to the “Marche”, the Market.
It is here they gather to barter for what they need. The coastal villages bring fish, conch and other finds from the sea, while the inlanders bring corn, watermelon, plantains, or whatever is in season at the time. Yet, there is much that they are still dependent on to come from the mainland, and it comes at a hefty price. When the winter months come, and the crops are gone there is very little to eat, and many go long periods of time without food.
There is no electricity in the villages. On the International Ministry of Hope “compound” where we stayed, we had a few hours of generated power in the evening so we could eat dinner and prepare for bed. Truly a luxury.
Our meals were prepared in a itty bitty hut, over home-made charcoal made from trees in the area.