Myself and my two American companions -- overtly white faces glowing palely from the back three seats of the darkened Haitian bus -- attract attention on these stops as we hold up our American passports. Repeated commentary at the door, involving pointing, chin gestures, glares, and the words "tres gringos" is not hugely comforting.
At the first passport check, five minutes from the Haitian/Dominican border, it was first established that the baby had no passport. The first intimidating man who boarded the bus grabbed her papers -- apparently a birth certificate and a shot record -- then berated the infant's frightened mother into tears. In Spanish, he ranted at the mother that the child's documents were not sufficient, that the baby needed a passport, that she couldn't enter the country with such worthless documentation, that she should be ashamed of boarding this bus to begin with, that he didn't care if even the president of Haiti himself had approved this paperwork; that this was the Dominican Republic, the child was Haitian, and she was entering the country in an illegal and unacceptable act. Et cetera. Et cetera. Et cetera.
Brown Haitian eyes nervously meet each others across the bus. The mother's welled with nervous tears. Mine meet those of my companions to my right.
This must be the drama that replaces the en-route movie, I imagined. Not really sure if I want to be a spectator at this event.
This bus trip is taking an infinity, I then note. I wonder if this baby was perhaps conceived and given birth to on this very bus. Is this, perhaps, why she has no passport?
Granny, it seems, was not immune to immigration's ire. So, what about baby?