Last week I fulfilled a long- standing wish by visiting Abriko and the work of Patrick and Mica Deverteuil. They have a large foundation which sponsors 12 schools, an atelier for the transformation of fruits, and also a women’s cooperative which makes table cloths, bedspreads and other beautiful handicrafts. What struck me most about that visit was how difficult it was to get there. It had rained the day before, and the road was so muddy that we were slipping and sliding as if on snow and ice in Chicago.
But the natural beauty of the landscape was breathtaking. So much “virgin” beauty still untouched by large commercial ventures, but also making life difficult because one is so isolated. Every trip to Jeremie, which is the largest city nearby, takes 2 hours or so over very rutted unpaved roads. Difficult at best when you are well, but impossible to make the trip when you are sick. There is much talk about tourism these days in Haiti. But until roads are built, that remains an elusive dream. Nonetheless, I kept thinking if only people could see the beauty of all this, Haiti could change hearts.