October 5, 2010
I’m lying here in a shack. Locked in. On a bad mattress. I’m hoping for a pee free night as there is no way to relieve myself. I’m sharing said shack with 4 other girls and there are 3 beds. The others were gracious enough to let me have the bed to myself, while everyone else doubled up. Of course, I feel guilty, but they seem to think I’m going to have a rough day tomorrow and need my rest. Tomorrow is the clinic in this very remote village that goes by the name Gran Buchonne- although I have no idea if that is even close to the actual spelling.
We left the orphanage this morning in our rental vehicles. We were told that it was a rough 4x4 ride, but that was a gross understatement. I wish I haven’t run out of words to use in place of amazing and all the other words I’ve used over and over again. I’m going to go with intense to describe the ride. Moab has nothing on this place. Think Independence Pass, but replace the road with rocks of many various sizes. It’s rough and scary and not at all for the faint. We gave those rentals a beating, to the point of them dying every few minutes and squeaking like crazy.
Early in the day we encountered roadblocks. IT seems that all the rains may have washed away parts of the road. There were many time when we were sure we were not going to make it to the other side of the bridgeless ditch in one piece. At times, we even had to get out and help build the road ourselves.
The real excitement came when we encountered 2 struck Mack trucks full of produce and the dozens of stranded locals on the side of the road. The lead truck had a broken axel and was not going anywhere anytime soon. The poor people on the side of the road had been there since Saturday (today’s Tuesday)! It was clear the road was impassible and posed a huge problem for us.
This particular obstacle easily trumped anything we had already encountered and seemed much more difficult to tackle. A few were even thinking the best decision would be to turn around and drive 3 hours back to the orphanage and forego this part of the trip. This truck wasn’t going anywhere and we were literally stuck between rock and a mountain drop off. The men built a new road by digging into the hillside. The biggest concern was if we could get a wide enough patch of road for our vehicles to sneak between the mountain and truck without tipping over or becoming scratched.
At this point, we realized that this was not going to be an easy task. See, Americans and Haitians have very different ways of doing things. Haitians have nothing to lose but pride and will find a way to complete the task at any cost. However, as Americans we are much more worried about the damage (then the cost) their solution would impose. It was a cultural clash at its finest and there was a good hour when I wasn’t sure which way would win. Eventually all three vehicles were able to squeeze through. Each and every vehicle got rocked and lifted beyond belief, but we got pas rather unharmed.
It was really hard to leave all these people in the dust, but we had few options. We were afraid to hand out water and food, as it would cause chaos because we didn’t have enough for everyone. We were told that someone was on the way with the right part, but I have serious doubts about their ability to get 3 hours down the mountain safely with such damaged trucks.
After five hours of traversing this crazy path, we arrived in Gran Buchonne. The villagers were so gracious; it brought tears to my eyes. They sat us down and came to us individually with soap, water and a towel to wash our hands. We then feasted on rice and beans with some delicious bread and fried plantains. I passed on the goat, but others seemed to enjoy it. As were we eating, a couple of ladies were squeezing fresh picked grapefruit. The juice they made was the best juice I have ever tasted. And I don’t even like grapefruit!
After dinner, we went to the church and once again, I was awed by their ability to worship the lord in such an incredible manner. They sang and danced for hours and truly have God in their hearts and know Jesus is their Savior. In fact, they are singing gloriously as I journal. We can hear them in our shack, as if there were speakers in here. They plan to keep worshipping until we open our clinic at dawn…I’ll let you know how I slept.