@MansoorForHaiti: Getting To Port-au-Prince
To get to Haiti, IMANA teams have a long and daunting journey. It starts by the travel to the capital city of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. It is usually a 12 hour journey where the typical IMANA Doctor carries with him or her, boxes of supplies destined for the field hospital set up by IMANA and its partners outside of Port-au-Prince.
Team 5 gathered in Santo Domingo on the morning of Saturday Feb.14 preparing to depart for Port-au-Prince. From top row starting right; Internal Medicine Dr. Charles Held, Medical Student Zubair Chao, Logistic Mansoor Khadir, ER Dr. Feras Khan, Plastic Surgeon Dr. Osama Soliman, ER Dr. Tesfa Young, Med Student Firas Naji. Bottom Row from right: Orthopedic Surgeon Asif Ilyas, PA Allison Lynn, Orthopedic Surgeon Mustafa Haq & Team Leader Internal Medicine Bilal Khokar
The drive to Port-au-Prince from Santo Domingo is 7 hours long, through the western mountain ranges of the Dominican Republic and over the deep eastern valleys of Haiti. The drive is a gradual climb, and then a steep fall followed by sharp rise again all through crumbled rock roads.
The border crossing of the Dominican Republic (DR) and Haiti was not as much of challenge as I imagine previous IMANA teams and humanitarian groups likely encountered. The exchange of trucks filled with supplies, vans transporting relief workers, and DR/Haitian citizens crossing the border in tropical heat seemed to be controlled chaos.
But it was apparent that within a moments notice, the traffic could easily be overwhelming and out of control. Order was being held by the slightest of gestures of courtesy by everyone crossing--it was with their blessing that our crossing was as safe as it was. We were thankful.
We crossed calmly, then roared through the valley trailed a dust of rock behind us before zig zagging the mountains and then gradually descending into Port-au-Prince.
IMANA Team 5 arrived.