Mirebalais Country Roads

Teaching Hospital Mirebalais, HaitOn a sunny near windless day we drove north out of Port-au-Prince’s labyrinth of narrow streets heading for the country roads of Mirebalis.  Our destination was the small town of Mirebalais which is located about 60 Km northeast of the Capital. The history of Mirebalais dates back to 1703, but the roads that will take you there are more recent affairs.  The route out to the countryside of greater Mirebalais gradually ascends up into the mountains.  On the lower elevations the terrain is almost desert like with an overall sandy color backdrop to the hills and fields flowing by on both sides.  The traffic and pedestrian congestion of the big city recedes into a trans-regional open road with occasional cars, busses and large trucks whizzing by.  The Haitian country town of Mirebalais is a well known rural destination boasting clean and welcoming landscapes.  The town and nearby areas are served by the national hydroelectric power transmission grid and normally enjoys round the clock electrical power.  A sunny breeze generated by the forward motion of the vehicle blended nicely with clean air and the earthy scents of the countryside.  There are few roadside facilities once you start climbing the mountain roads.  No petro-ports with restrooms and refrigerated liquids.  No pay phones or ATMS.

Mirebalais Country Boy 88

 The first series of mountains looming large in the distance are unique in that they extend the desert like character of the land below.  They feature small patches of grass (further worn away by the grazing goats), gravel and many large boulders.  Some of these boulders are the size of a small house.  Many are smaller yet, but they appear to be seconds away from breaking free and rolling unfettered down the mountainside.  No doubt some of them manage to break free every now and then.  The road wends back and forth in a snake like pattern surrendering impressive vistas at very turn.  The uniform good surfaces of the National Road 3 continued all the way to Mirebalais, and to Haut Sant d’Eau.  This is a comfortable drive in most vehicles.  Also worth mentioning are the organic vegetables and fruit stands that pop-up along the way.  The avocados, papayas, mangoes, lettuce, sugar cane and other produce are superb, and represent one of the best food values in Haiti.  These produce stands are operated by Haitian farming families who are more than happy to chat you up while selling their produce.

   
   

Mirebalais is currently known for the very impressive teaching hospital that was completed in 2012.  This is the world’s largest solar powered hospital.  The power source is an array of 1800 solar voltaic panels that cover most of the hospital’s roof.  The panel’s power generation capacity is rated at 140-megawatt hours of electricity.  The excess power produced by the panels is, by design, fed into the public transmission grid.  The Mirebalais hospital is a modern and attractive medical facility.  This is the best hospital in Haiti.  After a short visit at the hospital, we moved on to photograph a nearby lake and have a cold beer at a small Haitian bar with a nicely painted logo on the exterior wall.

   

Further down the road were other places to visit.  There is no substitute for local knowledge and asking for directions to a pivotal turning point or road helps. If your Creole is a bit soft shift into French.  English coupled with hand signals punctuated with the name of a road or town is a last resort.  The Water Fall at Haut Sant d’Eau was located with the assistance of a young boy and his donkey.  The Falls were shady and not crowded with visitors.  This site is a popular pilgrimage and voodoo venue at certain times of the year.  The day we visited there were only a few people luxuriating under the torrent.  With more time to continue the trek there are more mysterious towns and villages along the main route; towns with names like Dos Croix, La Destab, Le Jardin and Desarmes. We found a neat spot on a hillside over-looking a lake to raise camp.  By night fall  a LCD lamp, fireplace and a makeshift table were used to organize dinner. © Photo By oceantrader.co

Comments

  1. Mezanmi gen anpil bel kote nan peyi nou an ki se Ayiti nou pa konnen,mw map gade yo c gras a oceantrader.co map dekouvri sa mw poko konnen yo,map mande chak grenn Ayisyen parey mw tanpri al vizite kote sa yo,li vreman interesan le nou fe touris lokal!

  2. We drove part of this route two years ago heading to the border in the Dominican Republic. Haiti is a charming country with many surprises if you are a real traveler. Traveling to Haiti and just experiencing Port-au-Prince leaves a great deal of undiscovered territory. I appreciate these fotos.

  3. My brother was a volunteer with the design and construction of the hospital. Everyone who contributed to the creation and funding of this facility should be very proud. This includes the many capable and dedicated Haitians that will maintain the teaching hospital as a vital asset.

Speak Your Mind

*