Port-au-Prince is a dry, dusty, rather ugly city. For someone like me, who grew up spending hours in the woods, it can sometimes feel like a prison sentence especially during the summer and early fall when the daily temperatures can be painfully high. I had heard that there are hiking trails not far from the city, but I could not imagine them being anything like the lush forests of New England. So I was a little skeptical when Marc invited me to go hiking with Scotti and another friend.
We drove 30 minutes outside the city, parked the car and started walking up a ravine. It was classic urban Haiti: rocky, sunny, dusty, trashy and lots of people watching us and calling out, "Blan, blan!" We continued and soon the ravine had a stream of water running through it. We eventually left all the villagers behind and came around a bend to see this:
That such beauty, such pure natural beauty should exist only a few miles from Port-au-Prince simply astounded me. We got giddy like little children and played in that waterfall to our hearts' content. But the adventurer's spirit had caught us and we had to see if it was possible to climb the falls and follow the stream higher up. With me leading the way, barefoot and bathing suit clad, we scaled the steep, slippery hillside along the stream. At certain points, we climbed the rock walls with the water cascading past us. Further ahead, we used trees to haul ourselves up. Eventually, we reached a second gorgeous cascade and we played again before starting the descent.
What a balm to the soul! Haiti is known for its waterfalls, but always in smaller cities hours away such as Jacmel and Les Cayes. And yet, here, 2 taptap rides from my home, is a beautiful oasis. Ever since I moved to Haiti in 2007, I have sought such a sanctuary. The rooftop garden at St Joseph's offered me a reasonable solution but since losing that in the earthquake, I have been unable to find a place nearby where I can have solitude in a peaceful and heart-soothing environment. Finally! God has provided this...