Roads and road rage in Port au Prince: Frankly, there’s not much of either

RASHMEE ROSHAN LALL February 28, 2014
The typical 'road' in PaP

The typical ‘road’ in PaP

Roads remain something of a preoccupation for anyone who lives in Port au Prince. Consider this.

Overheard at a restaurant: “They’re building the road outside my house. I’m so so happy.”

Sounds of mass exultation in Morne Cabrit, Port au Prince: “They’ve laid the road.”

And on and on.

It’s hardly surprising that something as basic as a road should elicit such extreme reaction here. There aren’t many roads in the capital. And there are hardly any good roads.

Most rich Haitians, says a Haitian friend, respond to the problem by simply buying a more powerful 4-Wheel-Drive. All the better to grind their way through the bumpy, gravelly, uneven, winding paths that pass for roads.

Some might call that a complete and utter bypass of civic sense.

Others might say it’s a canny adjustment to the realities of road life in the Haitian capital.

Interestingly though, there’s not much sign of road rage despite the travails of getting around. Surely that says something about stoicism, an uncomplaining acceptance of reality? Or could it be lethargy in the face of immutable odds?

Jack Kerouac

“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life”
– Jack Kerouac