Haiti. In a well arranged action to overcome -or at least alleviate- the tragic and painful consequences of a devastating earthquake of 7.3 magnitude, not everything is humanitarian aid in cash or in kind, collections, hospitals or available health centres, supplied medicines, attended and healed wounded persons, buried dead people, transported ruins, processed statistics, located security agents, journalists eager for impact and photos… For all this, like in the case of Haiti, we need also efficacious means of transport to move and bring to their destination the health personnel, to facilitate the work of humanitarian agencies, to make the movement of the citizens possible within the city and outside, to bring all the food, clothing and medicine from the stock to the distribution places, to urgently transport in giant trailers the international aid that arrives to the harbours and airports of the Dominican Republic bound for Haiti. This is what we can observe every minute from the big entrance of our community by which all the Dominican Rep-Haiti traffic passes.
And within this field of rapid and efficacious transportation, professionally experienced and heartily available taxi drivers are also needed.
In this my fourth chronicle since the Haiti tragedy, I want to present to you a quiet but self-sacrificing and efficacious work of a great “Claretian taxi driver,” assigned to our Jimaní community, together with Fr. Roselio Díaz, and Pastor of the parish of a nearby town, called La Descubierta. He is always an expert and nimble driver at the steering wheel, good at measuring distances, bloodhound of opportunities to overshoot in no time unending rows of giant trucks, knowledgeable in detail of potholes, cave-ins and “lying down policemen” in the 45 km between Jimaní and Puerto Príncipe, fast in good open road, serene and prudent in lunatic or bursting with wandering people places, always a pleasant talker and witty with great good humour. What else do you want? I present to you, with a warm round of applause, Fr. Pepe Rodríguez Silverio, a Claretian missionary, with his typical and perennial greying beard, from the “Pearl of the Atlantic”, Puerto Plata.
He is doing a great service with his Toyota four-while drive pick-up, with his practically daily trip to Puerto Príncipe, not a pleasant, a very annoying route because of the state of the road, or the slow convoys of trucks, or the unbearable traffic jams that erode one’s patience. Fr. Pepe is acting as link, bringing Claretians in caring visits to our brothers of Haiti, or lay visitors from the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico (volunteer doctors and nurses) in their back and forth trips, carrying caring aid and means as indispensable as electric generators, fuel tanks, etc.: all types of adventure, “four-while drive” service too.
We are proud of these two missionaries of the Jimaní community, who are doing their very best, “wearing themselves out” (St. Paul said it first) for the Kingdom, squandering love and self-giving to the “smallest ones” and the suffering. Roselio is indeed tireless at the helm of the Social Centre and its wounded children, from early morning till late evening, and Pepe, tireless too in his availability and good humour, at the steering wheel of his “humanitarian taxi,” running without respite to and fro, true “taxi driver without borders.” If we had to congratulate them in French, we would say: “Roselio, Pepe, chapeau!”
May the Lord and Our Lady of Cana, who spared emergencies and shame, and the Sorrowful Lady of Calvary, who accepted cross, death and suffering, keep you always in the forge of their love. Will all this have something to do with that familiar saying that goes: “The Claretian missionary is a man on fire with love who spreads its flames wherever he goes”? I am sure it does. Pepe, keep up tirelessly as a “caring taxi driver”!
P. Carmelo, cmf, (PROMICLA)