I learned how to drive a stick-shift 6 years ago when I was living in Belgium. I never got entirely confident but I drove on the pedicured roads of Brussels. The thought of driving a manual car in Haiti, however, terrified me. Imagine maneuvering the wild pot hole-filled streets, avoiding pedestrians, chickens, pigs, goats, taptaps and moto-taxis while managing a stick-shift. Not to mention, Port-au-Prince is entirely hills, most of which are plugged with nose-to-nose traffic - rather challenging to the rookie manual driver!
Clearly, I am being forced to overcome my fears. I was invited on a trip to Gonaives this weekend, as a sort of guide, since I have been there often and know the route. My friend Dorothy does not love driving, so I knew that I would probably be called upon to drive a portion of the way in her new stick-shift, but I did not realize that actually, I was there as the designated driver.
Seven hours of Haiti roads later, I had taken us all the way to Gonaives and all the way back without incident. Fear gone; I'll drive anywhere now.
Click here to experience our entertaining drive ... I think I may have a career in ATVs ahead of me!