Haiti: Fortress in the Sky

[summer of 1986] Let me give you a little background before I get into the actual site. I went to Haiti, nineteen of us flew into Port de Prince, and stayed at an orphanage for a few days (slept on a blanket, on the roof top, swatting cockroaches); then got some Jeeps, and went into them mountains, it was during the summer so it was miserable hot. I had two main objects; first to go up to an area where there was a little village and help put in the foundation for a medical clinic. The local doctor, local in the sense he was 20-miles away, would not come to this village until there was clinic. So anyhow, I helped build the walls, doing some masonry work, and touched up the concrete slap putdown for the floor. The roof would have to wait.After a few weeks up there, lying on the floor of one of the three churches that were there, other than that, there really were no accommodations, my work was completed. People slept in shanties, on the floor with mats. So in Rome you do as the Romans do, so did I.On my way back to Port de Prince, I stopped at what some call the 8th wonder of the world, Haiti’s Citadel. It is on top of a hill, three thousand feet up. Consuming about the same area of the Acropolis of Athens (where I was in l995, and what a beautiful view of the city from up there). When I was there they were dong some renovation. The Citadel is a fortress on a hill, and was constructed to keep Napoleon’s fleet at a distance, and perhaps other foes. The walls are some 15-feet thick. Twenty-thousand workers, worked on this project. Many were killed or died in the process. It was built in the early 1800s.I had noticed it was decaying when I was there, so it was nice to see the renovation process in action. Below the Citadel was the San Souci Palace and its grounds were also being renovated. I drove by there, and only stopped in front of it too takes a few pictures, I was anxious to make it back to Port de Prince.They were starting to rebuild a roof on one of the main sections on the fortress; I suppose because of the tropical downpours, it is a decaying foe to the fortress. Not sure if I saved any souls up in this land of Christianity in the day light, and voodoo in the moonlight. But all and all it was a most adventurous trip.

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