2/18/2009 8:00:00 AM Mister Everything
‘You fall in love with Haiti’
The Sentinel report
Domond Bertony's thoughtful eyes have seen much.
As prime translator and longtime confidant of the Haiti Parish Twinning Project in Port-au-Prince, he has driven thousands of miles across bone-jarring Haitian backcountry roads, facilitated thousands of encounters with American aid workers, helped interview hundreds of patients and assisted with surgeries by the score. He's the level-headed guy who gets you through the full-contact airport mob scene and the rowdy traffic of Port-au-Prince with 28 big duffel bags full of medical supplies.
This morning, before our last clinic day, I found him on a small balcony at the Notre Dame rectory. He was watching the hustle-bustle of the Belladere city plaza begin to swell with the day's traffic. I asked him why he thinks the St. Joseph crowd comes to Belladere.
"Well, they come down here and they come to help," he said.
"I would say Jesus sends them as a missionary. Even though we are brothers and sisters by God, we don't have any relation by blood.
"When you come down here, you fall in love with Haiti. You just follow Jesus. You just work for Jesus.
"You leave the comfort at home. Now, it's easy to drive here (about three hours on mostly paved road). Five or six years ago it used to take six or seven hours.
"It's always amazing for me to see you guys. You have a lot of courage. It's always amazing for me."
He'd like to move back to the country one day. He hails from the southern Haiti community of Jacmel. "When you live in the countryside, the life is better," he says.