So my job was relatively simple; to obtain a map of the lac collinaire, and to find data that could overlay clay soils, arable land and flat land; all three often being present in the same area anyway.
There was a third role I was to play, that of official cartographer for the project, which meant I had to pull together reference maps of the country, location maps of the existing facilities (like the 50 or so existing fish farms in Haiti) and any schematics to help my two francophone colleagues make their points.
The first trip was in balmy May. The UK does not have a lot of links with Haiti and my route meant in had to overnight in New York on the way out. I spent one of those “Wood between the Worlds” nights – arriving late in to JFK from London, hunting for the hotel courtesy bus in amongst the paraphernalia of concrete and baggage carts; a cheery US check in followed by a quick explore of my room, shower and collapse into a very comfortable bed. Next morning an early check in meant an even earlier check out, so only a brief moment to view the Manhattan skyline from the sixth floor of my Jamaica hotel on the edge of JFK’s estate, a stodgy breakfast of pastries and tasteless coffee and then all aboard the bus back to the terminal. Although the hotel was right next to the Belt Parkway, you had to go through several residential streets. In the American scale of things these were probably lower middle class suburbs, generally respectable enough houses but nothing flash, no huge acreage of ground around them, a small yard. But still detached, usually well maintained and with elements of consumerism on show everywhere from the little trinkets in the windows, the shrubs and the well maintained car ports. Considering where I was flying to next this was a peculiar interlude of settledness and calm; a Sunday morning in Queens.