Vasectomy Haiti: Base Camp Hotel Roi Du Christophe
August 18, 2015
After changing money, we had to check into our hotel.
As we drove towards the hotel, we passed a short stretch of road that paralleled the coast. There was ‘development’ going on. A row of houses immediately adjacent to the beach were deemed illegal and were demolished. This opened up the beach to future development and the entire stretch of coast was visible.
The water was not inviting. The crystal clear water of the Caribbean was nowhere to be found. Instead the water was dark…about the color of mud for as far as the eye could see. You did not want to swim in this stuff.
We passed a group of kids who were naked in the water…no one seems to have bathing suits here. I could not tell if the kids were swimming or bathing. Next to them was a rusted out hull of a shipwrecked fishing vessel. Men were gathered around it and appeared to be using a welder to dismantle the rusted frame. The beach was rocky and there was no sand to be found.
You would never find this beach on the cover of any Caribbean vacation magazine.
Vasectomy Mission Central Hotel Du Roi Christophe
As we approached the hotel I had the strange sense I had been here before…a sense of familiarity with the surroundings. As we entered the hotel compound I could see the beautiful French architecture and then realized I was familiar with what I was seeing because I went to college in New Orleans.
I was remembering the French quarter and the beautiful French architecture. It then made sense to me Haiti was similar because of Haiti’s history as a previous French colony.
We checked into the Hotel Du Roi Christophe. I was later informed this was the vacation house of the first Haitian king, Henri Christophe. Christophe was an interesting character. He was a slave, who gained his freedom through hard work, and eventually helped the slaves revolt and gain their independence from France. Haiti was the only slave colony to gain independence from European rulers. Christophe, in the name of doing good, eventually became oppressive towards his own people. At the age of 53, he ultimately committed suicide to avoid assassination. It is ironic how the ‘savior’ can sometimes become the ‘oppressor’.
Understanding the life of the first Haitian King can help you more easily understand how deep the roots of animosity are between Dominicans and Haitians.
More information: Life of Henri Christophe First Haitian King
The Hotel Du Roi Christophe was surrounded by a ten foot wall. It was about the size of a city block. The hotel itself was open, airy, and elegant. There was a checkered floor of black and white tiles, large open doorways, and beautifully shuttered windows. I could not tell if I was in France or Cuba but the hotel was a nice establishment. It had internet and air-conditioning… so I was good.
We checked into our rooms. The rooms were nice. The furniture was antique-ish. The floors were made of clean, cool tile, and the walls were made of old brick interlaced with mortar made of beach sand and coral. The room had a loft-like feel to it. We did have several mosquitos in the room. I found myself wondering which one had the Chikungunya virus and was going to mess me up for life. The others likely had malaria in their guts but malaria is a treatable condition, but only after you suffer for several days. There was a window air-conditioning unit…so I was good again.
I shared a room with Dr. Shu. I cannot remember the last time I ever shared a room with someone. It had been quite a long time…I was not really looking forward to sharing a room, but I was a guest of the NSVI vasectomy mission team and I thought it best to be cordial and not say anything. Ultimately it would not matter because at the end of each vasectomy day I would be so tired I could have slept anywhere.
Dr. Shu later told me I was a snorer so it sounds like he got the rawer end of the deal. Sorry Dr. Shu but that’s what you get when they bunk you with the fat guy.
Internet connectivity is oxygen
After a liberal application of mosquito repellant, I had to do what any American has to do after a long day of traveling. I ran around the hotel lobby trying to find the strongest Wi-Fi signal I could find! I had to catch up on all of the day’s unanswered e-mails. Getting a strong signal with good connectivity was like breathing in fresh mountain air after a day of not being digitally connected.
I soon learned electricity in Haiti is undependable. I had only gotten through about half my emails when the electricity went out and it became pitch black! The lights flickered on and off initially and then went entirely out for three minutes. A guy walked over and started the hotel generator and the lights came back on and we were back in business. Any place in Haiti of good quality has its own back-up power supply. Hydrocarbon generators are popular but solar panels and batteries are growing in popularity thanks to more affordable Chinese solar panels. Solar is more dependable in Haiti than hydrocarbon.
The rest of my emails would have to wait because it was time for ‘Happy Hour’!
“The first thing we all ordered was beer. We are doctors but we were guys first. We do have our priorities right.”
– Haiti Vasectomy: No Reservations
Priorities: Beer first, food second, work third
I joined the team for dinner in the open-air restaurant. I felt like Humphrey Bogart except I did not look as cool as Humphrey. I was in shorts, t-shirt and Birkenstocks. I was only missing the Fedora and cigarette dangling haphazardly from my mouth. I was not used to this type of atmosphere…but it was hip. It all felt quite regal to me.
The first thing we ordered was beer. We are doctors but we were guys first. We do have our priorities right.
Two Haitian dudes at the table next to us recommended a local beer called Prestige, but the waiter recommended Kinanm, which is also a local beer. We couldn’t decide so we ordered a round of each!
We discussed the next days mission but mostly we drank beer. We ordered grilled fish and grilled lobster only to find out the restaurant was out of lobster. Running out of food items seems to be a frequent occurrence in Haitian hotels, but that is usually a good thing because it means the food is fresh and locally sourced. We don’t run out of things in the United States because we have plenty and we freeze the oversupply. Also you can make an argument, we don’t run out of things because we are better able to manage limited resources and reproduction better than the developing world.
“We don’t run out of things in the United States because we have plenty… we don’t run out of things because we are better able to manage our limited resources and reproduction better than the developing world.”
– Haiti Vasectomy: No Reservations
The table next to us..the two Haitian dudes…were actually a father and son pair who were from the US and vacationing in Haiti. The father migrated to Haiti during the Duvallier era and the son was born in the United States. The son was treating his father to a nice trip and brought him to Northern Haiti to stay at the hotel and see the less familiar sites of the northern coast. The pair made a cute father and son team. I soon realized the number one tourist group to Haiti was composed of individuals who had migrated to the US to live and who then returned to see family and vacation.
After about three beers and talking to these guys, I realized Haiti is a cool, off the beaten path kind of place to take a vacation for the adventure oriented individual. There are nice, historical things to see, a few nicer places to stay, and despite what you hear..there is food available to eat. Its not all starvation and dehydration in Haiti.
I finished my grilled fish, rice, and beans and returned to the room to call it a day. I had been up since 4 AM. I turned in and had a restless night sleep. I continued the circle of life by allowing mosquitos to feast the night on my blood…there were only a few in the room. I tried to kill them before I went to bed but they were too fast and good at hiding in the dark spaces. The light in the room was not good enough for me to track them down. Bug spray would have been a great idea but they don’t sell it in Haiti and TSA won’t let you take it on a plane. I soon realized if you let the few that you can’t kill feast on you then they get fat and leave you alone for a few days.
In the middle of the night I placed my hand underneath the headboard and something bit the crap out of me. I had shivers running down my arm the remainder of the night and a discreet bump on my hand for the next several days. I figured it was a spider. Spiders don’t carry the Chikungunya virus … so again I was good with this piece of knowledge.
Next vasectomy surgical mission article: Vasectomy Haiti: Mission Objective Town of Plaisance
About the Author
Dr. Monteith provides vasectomy and vasectomy reversal surgery in Raleigh, North Carolina. He describes his vasectomy experiences in a mission trip to Haiti.
His first article in this vasectomy travel blog is Vasectomy Haiti: No Reservations
Persons interested in helping men get vasectomy in Haiti are encouraged to donate to: No-Scalpel Vasectomy International, Inc
For $45 you can provide a vasectomy. One vasectomy has the potential to change the lives of many.