Friday, August 30, 2013

Haiti's Travelin' Blind Man

Many of you know Roger, Seguin's loudest blind man.  He's a tall, thin man who used to beg loudly on my front porch when I lived in the mountains.  We gave him a job as a human megaphone, calling out patient names for us.  Now that the clinic is closed, he is out of work and relies on charity to makes ends meet.

Roger is not only known for his loud voice, but also for his travelling ways.  Even though Seguin is a mountainous place with narrow, slippery clay trails and deep ravines, Roger uses his wooden cane to feel his way around and walk by himself over miles of terrain.  Once, Roger was crossing a very narrow bridge that spans an 80 foot ravine when he ran into someone.  He yelled at the person, saying, "What's wrong with you?  Don't you know I'm blind?  Watch where you're going!"  The person answered him, "Roger?  Is that you?"  It was Roger's cousin.... who is also blind.  The two men laughed about it afterwards.

Once I moved to Christianville, I expected to see much less of Roger.  I've only been able to visit Seguin a few times since my move.  Roger, however, was not satisfied with a visit every few years, so he decided to come see me.  And he has... several times, and always by himself.  Just recently he visited me, sporting a new T-shirt with vampires on it, some old shoes with soles that were coming un-glued, and his usual smile. He needed help with school for his children.  In order to come ask me for help, Roger had to ride no less than three motorcycle taxis, two tap-taps, and a bus.  Then he had to repeat that process to return home. He told me one of the tap-taps he was riding broke down and he had to overnight in Jacmel.  I didn't have the heart to ask him how and where he overnighted there.  Roger is a brave man.  Possibly, the most well-travelled blind man in Haiti.