Snapshots From Cazale – The River and The Station

This post continues the brief series highlighting some aspects of the area around Real Hope for Haiti that are unique to Cazale.

If you missed yesterday’s post about the mountains, click here to check it out.

We hope you enjoy…..Snapshots From Cazale.


The river that runs through Cazale is vital to the community.  The water is crystal clear, taking on tones of light emerald green in the deeper areas.  The river provides a place to bathe, to wash laundry and dishes, to water livestock, to irrigate crops in the valley, and to keep the kids entertained for hours during the heat of the day.  The river does not have any fish in it big enough to eat, but cribbage (river shrimp)  and minnows can be caught.  Cribbage hunting is a popular activity among children.


Few things compare to the serenity that is provided by the gentle sound of flowing water.  Find yourself a good shade tree along the bank (mango trees are the best), dip your feet in the coolness of the spring-fed river, and instant relaxation can be discovered.  Spending a few minutes by the river can be an excellent temporary escape from a really tough day.


The selling of river rock can actually provide some income for families.  Preferable sized rocks are gathered to sell roadside which can be used in various construction projects.  Often the rocks require some chipping away with a hammer and pick to form into a more desirable shape or size.  As you would imagine, rock gathering and prepping is very labor-intensive.


Crossing the river can offer a couple of perks – a brief cooling off after a long, hot day at the market, as well as a refreshing drink for the animals.


Sunsets viewed from along the river’s banks are especially beautiful.  During nights when there is a full moon overhead, it is a lovely treat to see the moonlight reflecting off the water through the leaves of the coconut trees.


The “Station”

The Station is an area about the length of a city block that runs in front of Real Hope for Haiti.  It is a place of commerce and social gathering.  Vendors set up in the Station daily, selling items such as food staples (rice, tomato paste, oil, vegetables, etc.), hot ready-to-eat foods (like hotdogs, fried plantains, fish), and a variety of drinks.  Some days vendors set up stands selling clothing, shoes, backpacks, and miscellaneous odds and ends.  Since so many people come from distant places in order to go to RHFH, the Station has evolved into a center of activity.  Friends meet there to catch up on news, to eat a favorite snack of Bingos (Haiti’s version of the puffy Cheetos), and even occasionally watch a movie at the mini theater behind the welding/grocery stand that has a generator.  Motos and tap-taps can be found at the Station, and it is the place to be if a good soccer game is on the radio.

The Station is always buzzing with activity.  One must be mindful of motos zooming by on the crowded road, and keep a close eye on the ground to avoid stepping in piles left behind from the livestock passing through.  It is a mixture of tradition of old and the modern.  A person riding a donkey here, a person chatting on a cell phone there.  Few cars pass through the Station.  It can be a difficult task to navigate through the Station on busy market or Clinic days.  It is quite possibly one of the most interesting places on earth.


Large crowds gather in the Station on busy Clinic days, but it becomes an especially congested area on Food Box distribution days as people wait outside of the RHFH gate for their turn to be called in to receive their food.


Buy a mango, chat with a friend, and catch a ride to town.  The Station is a fantastic area to get a quick glimpse into the character of Cazale.


  1. kathy says

    I miss Haiti.

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