It's a fun time of year, when spring launches the time forward an hour... in most of the world. You get sunlight streaming in your bedroom to wake you from slumber an hour early. And you get more evening. Businesses and corporate gatherings open and close all in sync with the new time... in a normal country. But then you have Haiti. Haiti carries a careless attitude about such things. Things that impact business and culture, but they don't seem to mind it. So here's the scenario:
March 12, 2017- Time springs forward, everyone in North America sets their clocks ahead at midnight by one hour. Meaning, in the morning, we will awake an hour earlier, at 6am, which before was 5am, to prepare for church.
There is no announcement in Haiti whether the time change will take effect. Why is this important? Because in years past Haiti has decided to not take part in the time change. What does it really affect anyway, being so close to the equator. The sun still rises and sets 12 hours apart from each other, whether it's 6-6 or 7-7. Is that going to have any great affect on commerce? So to give a brief history of Haiti time, here's an article from Haiti Libre from last year, when the interim president had decided we would not change time:
"Unlike recent years, setting the clocks change on the second Sunday of March (Presidential Decree of 7 March 2012), to enjoy the longest day in summer and reduce energy consumption in the country during the summer season ; the Presidency Communication Office informs the general population "that no by season time change is planned for this year. So, National time will neither forward or back Sunday, March 13, 2016. The Presidential Communications Office invites the public to consider this provision to have no setbacks in daily activities."
Note that the time changes were applied in Haiti from 1983 to 1997; from 2005 to 2006; and from 2012 to 2015. Changes in hours, besides that that is the subject of this noticewere canceled in 2 time in 1997 and 2006 (under the Préval regime)...
A decision by the interim presidency, without explanation, that will set Haiti on Sunday from one of the few countries in the world to have this time configuration (14 country/zones only). "
INTERESTING. Haiti always has to set herself apart, be different, cause confusion. So by personal experience, we are still not quite sure if there is a time change or not.
March 12, Sunday morning, we didn't get up an hour earlier. We still arrived for Sunday school at 7am. And so did everyone else.
March 13, Monday morning, we were suddenly late by an hour. We didn't set our clocks back, but there was more than usual amounts of noise in the streets by 5am (old time), cause it was somehow 6am now. We headed down to the campus at what I thought was 7am to get breakfast, but evidently everyone else had gotten some sort of notice, cause school was already in session, kids lined up at the flag pole, and the admin office was open.
March 14, Tuesday eve, thinking that everyone must know that the time changed now, we head down for Bible Study service at 5pm.... wait..... wait..... wait...... no one til 6pm (the new time). Hmmm, the ones that arrive at 6pm are the ones that would normally come on time, so they must still be on the old time. Many other people are even later, cause Haitian time always factors in 20-40 minutes tardiness, unless you work at the bank or in a school. Then somehow that malady is suddenly cured. So, I'm pretty confused.
I check with Francky in the morning if there was an announcement by the government for the time change. He says yes. Ok good. Confirmed that the time has changed. Good, so we are on the same schedule as the rest of the world, right? I was a bit worried, cause we were planning to fly out for a week trip back to Canada March 16.
March 15, I receive an email notice from American Airlines that my flight time has changed.... looks like they think Haiti has not changed time. So flight is at 7:50am.
March 16, we leave very early to be sure to be there for 7:50am. Get there, cause of heavy traffic (everyone going to work on time), at 7am. Marc and I are worried we might miss the flight. We tell the American Airlines workers hoping to get put at the front of the line. Arrive at the counter to a very unconcerned ticketing agent. She doesn't seem to think we are late at all. What time is our flight, we ask her. 7:50am. Ok. It's like 7:20am... according to the new time. She gives us a crazy look. Hands us our boarding passes. They say boarding at 8:20am, leaving at 8:50am. What?! Ok, so we are not late, thank God. But still utterly confused. Yet, we get to our flight on time and arrive back in North American, where all time is normal and synced everywhere. Phew!
Fast forward 10 days.
March 26, we are flying back to Haiti. Get the flight notice that our flight from Miami at 11:35pm and we will arrive in PAP at 1:35pm. Ok, good. We let the Team Hosts know, we'll be in an hour ahead of the team coming from Oregon. We arrive at the gate for PAP.... no PAP flight listed yet. It's 10:50am. We should be boarding, but another flight is still on the board.... what, even Miami is confused? I take another look at our boarding passes. They actually say 12:35!! I check online on the AA app at our itinerary. Yep, Okay.... we board at 12:35, but get this, the screen actually says we arrive at 2:35pm, estimated arrival time 1:35pm. What?! K, I'm officially confused. And guess who's on the same flight with us? Yep, the team. We all arrive TOGETHER in PAP at 2:35pm. But..... when we arrive at the baggage claim area, guess what time the reader board screen says? You guessed it! 1:47pm. (It took us a few minutes to get off the plane).
I would think the communication between countries and airlines and passengers would be pretty important to sync. Apparently not. In fact, Haiti didn't even think it was important to put any flight info up on the screen. Maybe it's better they put all the technology away and just stick to word of mouth and gauging the sun. Works in Haiti.