The jeep had several passengers. A small boy had to sit on my lap
during the trip. About an hour into the trip, I felt something warm
and wet and realized that the little boy had peed on my leg. The
driver agreed to stop and let me change into the only other pair of
pants I had.
Then, with about an hour left, the jeep got stuck in the mud. There
was only one other adult male besides the driver and me, so I
joined the other man in the back to try and push the jeep free. We
freed the jeep after a few minutes, but not before I had mud
splattered all over the front of my pants and shirt. I changed the
shirt, but had to choose between the muddy pants and the peed-on
pants. Some of the women decided that they could quickly clean the
urine and hang the pants out the window of the jeep to dry. In the
meantime, they gave me a pair of flowered shorts, clearly cut for a
woman, to wear.
When we arrived at the airport it was already 12:45. The peed-on
pants still smelled of urine, so I rushed into the airport in my
high-cut, flowered women's shorts, T-shirt, and muddy dress shoes.
In general, Haitians are conservative people, and I, looking like
Richard Simmons, got a lot of stares as I boarded the plane. I
covered my lower half with a blanket and settled in for the trip to
About 30 minutes into the flight, they called for a doctor. I
waited for a few seconds, hoping someone else would respond so that
I wouldn't have to get up. I informed the flight attendant that I
was a doctor and she, after looking at my shorts and then at me
with some suspicion, escorted me to the patient, an older Haitian
woman who saw my ensemble and regarded me with some fear. The
emergency was that she couldn't undo her seat belt, and this threw
her into a bit of a panic. It was all exacerbated by the sight of
me, a foreign doctor in tightfitting women's shorts with dress
shoes and socks. It was just a misunderstanding because of a
language barrier. It was cleared up very quickly by some
Creole-speaking American staff.
When I got to New York, I had to explain things to a smirking
customs officer, but otherwise had a quick cab ride to the comfort
of my house and a change of clothes.