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Haiti boat delivery
Personal Development & Community

Why were you inspired to do this?

It was prohibitively expensive to ship a Wesleyan mission boat from Saint John, Canada to their hospital on La Gonave Island in Haiti.

What were 3 things you did to make this happen?

Not much except skipper the boat there.

Members of the Wesleyan Church did all the heavy lifting in preparation. And they recruited a great crew member for me, Charles McNair, who cannot be matched for grit and determination.

How did you feel once you had accomplished this?

Wiped out but inspired to try to help more.

Additional notes and tips:

It was the most gruelling ocean passage of my life.  It took 38 days to complete the voyage, twice as long as expected.  We started in late November, the boat had no heat, and for the first two weeks we had ice on the decks.  I was very concerned about political unrest and crime in Haiti. When we reached the port of entry, we were waved away from the landing by guards with shotguns. 

After circling in the harbour for an hour the guards waved us in, and things got a whole lot better.  The lingua franca in Haiti is Creole, but we were eventually able to explain what we were doing and why we were there by conversing in French, which was not the first language of either party.

I had expected a lot of hostility in Port aux Prince, thinking it would be like Kingston, Jamaica, but it was not at all evident.  Once we explained ourselves we were treated with kindness and respect.  The difference may be that most visitors to Haiti are there to help, while in Jamaica, most visitors are there to party in luxury, which causes resentment to the average Jamaican who lives in extreme poverty.

We arrived Dec. 29th, two weeks before the massive earthquake.  The boat we delivered proved invaluable in ferrying victims of the quake from Port aux Prince to the mission hospital on La Gonave, which only suffered minor damage.

While I was in there I learned of a project to develop a lemon industry on La Gonave, and I am attempting to identify a Canadian company to participate, taking advantage of the Canadian aid program which helps fund develpment in the third world.  It would be of enormous benefit, providing dozens of desparately needed jobs, and keeping money presently used to purchase lemon products from abroad in Haiti. 

Stay tuned .....

9/8/2011 8:00:13 AM

Bob, I just heard this story on the local radio station as described by Randy Chaisson- then Googled to find this post. Thank you for your willingness to help others and your personal sacrifice.

1/9/2011 7:52:29 AM

Congratulations, we have linked your story on the My Life List 90 (#31) to inspire others. Thank you so much for sharing this incredible story.

10/10/2010 6:53:21 AM

Bob, this is an incredibly inspiring story. Thanks for sharing. Hopefully one of our members will take note and reach out to help. Bill

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