Our Haitian Trek

So far I’ve only been helping others post their thoughts on here, but it’s been an interesting day and seemed as good as any for me to take the reins. Why so interesting? The weekly concert at our hotel–featuring the RAM band–was last night, and played until about 4.5 hours before we had to wake up, eat breakfast, and head out to Cap-Haitien. It was well worth it, though, and a solid way to unwind after our first performance here. Aside from the expected delays and stop-and-gos we have become accustomed to, many ensemble members also felt a bit under the weather, all in unison (but all are now in fine health, after a day of travel and rest). That’s not to say it wasn’t an enjoyable 10 hour bus ride through Haiti. Whaaaattt, 10 hours?? Haiti’s not that big, right? Well no, but buses and narrow, mountainous roads do not a smooth ride make.

The scenery, however, was wonderful (in between attempts to sleep off our sickness). For me, it provided a great contrast to the New York geology I usually associate with hilly roadways (see below). Our trombonist Hendryck, who spent some of his formative years in Port-au-Prince, remarked how incredible it was to finally venture out of the city and see the Haitian coast. I think he takes the cake for most positive attitude of the day. But aside from the difficulties of transporting a hundred musicians across a country, the journey made it evident how difficult it is to rebuild and distribute aid after a natural disaster. If it took us 10 hours to travel up the coast, I can only imagine what it was like helping victims of Hurricane Matthew a few months ago, in the southwest of the country.

–Jonathan Karsch, tenor saxophone, CU Winds president