Jillian and I had just dropped off the rental car when I got the call: “Laura Silsby has been released!” Jillian and I jumped on Pinotage and headed for the jail, this was kinda big news! For those of you not following this story, I don’t blame you, but I’m going to explain it anyways so this post makes sense. Just after the earthquake, Laura Silsby and 9 other Idahoans decided to jump the pond and save steal some Haitian children.
Well, the Haitian government wasn’t cool with that, so they were all tossed in jail as child traffickers. One by one they were released, and as it turned out, the person really responsible for scheming this plan was Laura, so she was forced to rot in a Haitian jail for just over 3 months. You know how they say time flies when you’re having fun? Well for her, I can assure you time had Canadian geese lodged in both engines.
But today was her day, and the judge convicted her of the lesser charge of “Arranging Irregular Travel,” a law originating from the Duvalier era which means exactly what it sounds like. Her sentence? 3 months and 8 days, or time served. So when Jillian and I got to the jail, we were about to see Laura for the last time on Haitian soil…at least we hope.
She stopped by the jail quickly to pick up her personal items and then headed for the airport. Jillian hopped on the back on Pinotage, and we gunned it to the departures entrance, beating them by mere seconds. I ran to the car they were driving, and was the first (of only two), members of the press to be there. So I took pictures!
DON’T LOOK IN HER EYES! Haha, just kidding. But there is something weird about them, right? She calmly stood there with an embassy official, her father, and one of the other women who was imprisoned with her before. I had a small conversation with that woman which went something like this:
ME: Hey there, how are you doing?
ME: Hot enough for you?
WOMAN: It’s really hot.
ME: You going home now too?
That was a good conversation.
They stood around chatting for about 20 minutes before walking to the security gate. You see, they didn’t have tickets for a flight out yet, as the judge’s decision came as a surprise. Because there were major protests in front of the Presidential Palace, almost every member of the press was distracted covering that, so when the ruling came down no one was paying attention. That’s why the judge picked today, and that’s why I was the only one there. Our fixer just happen to be at the court, and Jillian and I just happened to be by the airport. It was almost like destiny.
So she walked through security with the embassy rep and her accomplice, hugged her lawyers, and was off to what, I’m sure, was the best flight of her life. There were no geese in these engines.
But to be honest, I’m so glad that this story is over, at least on this end. There was so much attention miscast on this woman that the real stories in Haiti never got their due. Three months ago, when a team was down to cover the real news, they continually got bumped because “an American is in jail in Haiti! OMG!” Well, now we can get down to business, and focus on what’s important, like rebuilding this country. Oh, and kittens, of course.