Wednesday Night

Posted: February 23, 2012 in During the Trip

Prepare yourself. Kyle tells me that this is the longest blog post yet, and I believe him. So then. Breathe in. Breathe out. Repeat. Did you repeat, or did you just read over those words? Now that you’ve actually done what I’ve told you to do, you’re ready.                                             -Mark E.

At the time of writing this, our day is only half over. However, I think most of us are ready to go back to bed. Our plans were met with unforeseen circumstances, but that’s typical of most plans in Haiti. Most of us saw our earliest morning since Saturday’s 4am meeting time this morning, because this was the day we were to go to the market to get our goats for the orphanage. Just to get there from our compound is an hour-long bus endeavor, but this allowed us to see much of Jeremie. Our market adventure seemed brief, however we made 2 stops. Our first stop was to view an interesting form of raft in a river that ran through Jerome. We were told that these 20ish-foot-long, shallow boats are created a far way up the mountain, loaded with fruits from the forests, and sent downstream to land in the town. A couple of small boys were playing on these boats before they were to be disassembled and the bamboo shafts that comprise the rafts sold as wood.

                The second stop of our journey was amidst the marketplace to get our goats. By the time we got there, most of the goats were already loaded into Pastor Doni’s van. Nevertheless, we explored around (in close proximity to our bus) and made conversation with some of Jerome’s locals. We loaded back onto our bus and started making our way back to the guesthouse compound, with the plan to grab a quick breakfast (which we had not had yet) and turn back around to the orphanage.

                Key words: “the plan.” Turns out we were forced to make a third, unintentional stop. From what I’ve gathered, our bus had been given bad diesel that was mixed with muddy water that clogged up the filters in the bus and eventually caused us to break down on the road between the orphanage and the compound. Thankfully, this stretch of our journey is in the peace of the rural areas of Jerome, and not in the chaos of the town. Our first plan of action: push the bus backwards to help it start up in Reverse gear. At this point, I had an “I can honestly say I’ve never done this before” moment. If you’ve never pushed a bus backwards on a dirt and gravel road in Haiti, it’s quite an experience. We had no luck in getting the bus to start back up again, so we decided to hang out on the side of the road for some time while DouDou went to go find a solution to our problem. We soon made more friends with the locals, played music, pushed the bus a couple more times (to no avail), and even threw pebbles at James for a small period of time. Mr. Rego, Mrs. Harling, and Miss Mills were picked up by Pastor Doni in his van in order for them to make it to the orphanage to begin their next segment of teacher training. Pastor Doni later returned to pick us up in his van and bring us to the compound. Keep in mind that this is the same van that transported the goats. Yeah, mull on that for a moment. However, this smelly ride was a quick on, and we were received back at the compound with a hearty brunch.

                The future of the day is a bit up in the air as of now, and I am currently one of the few conscious people at 2:02 in the afternoon. For all we know, the bus is still broken on the road, and many of our teachers are still at the orphanage training the Haitian teachers. As for me, I’m okay with this time of rest, writing this blog while listening to the lovely sounds of The Avett Brothers, after being stuck on the side of a Haitian road for close to 2 hours.

Part II

                We did end up making it to the orphanage for a short time, in which we did a VBS time for many of the orphans. The success of this time was in thanks to DouDou, who translated our Bible story (Peter’s denial of Jesus) into Creole, complete with dramatic interpretation. (In case you’re wondering, we rode in the previously goat-filled van to and from the orphanage at this time). After dinner and our nightly debriefing time, DouDou joined us for a little bit of worship time that ultimately ended with a some of the girls introducing him to the music of Christian rapper Lecrae (if you know the people on this trip, you can probably deduce which girls did this).

Sadly, I never got a chance to play basketball today. Now, I must confess, I don’t keep up with what’s posted on the blog. So I don’t know if anyone has told all of you lovely people about the basketball court outside our guest house. It’s a full-size, cement, and vibrant sea-green basketball court. It’s probably the most epic basketball court I’ve ever seen. Imagine shooting hoops while overlooking the ocean in Haiti during sunset. Yeah, your bajillion dollar arenas don’t seem so cool now, do they? When I came on this trip last year, I had assumed that the concrete slab next to the guest house would eventually be a new building. Needless to say, I was rather surprised to find a sea-green basketball court when we round the corner for the first time on Saturday. This is all to explain that I’m sad I didn’t get to play basketball today.

One of the best points of the night was when our newly-fixed bus came rolling down the hill. It started as someone saying, “hey guys, the bus is coming down the hill.” Most everyone went through a thought process along the lines of “the bus? Why would the…THE BUS.” It was a nice surprise to end our day with. (However, it was after this point that DouDou joined us for some worship).

Sadly, this blog post must come to an end. Mr. Chin called lights-out about 10 minutes ago. I just might be able to upload this tonight. Hopefully. I make no guarantees. If not, I guess we’ll get it up tomorrow morning. Hopefully. Still, no guarantees.

                Ending note: among loving on orphans, we’ve planted trees, gotten goats for the orphanage, and tomorrow we are supposed to introduce aquaponics. We aren’t farmers, and most of us aren’t bio-engineers. Most of us are high school students. It really doesn’t make any much sense that we could do these things, and we’re doing these things in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. How did we do (and how are we doing) this? How did we get here??  Just throwing that question out there. You can catch it, you can let it fall, or just watch it go by. (Granted, I know the answer, but rhetorical questions are always interesting).

                                                                                                                                                -Mark Erickson

P.S. We’ve been having trouble on uploading pictures. The internet connection is iffy. Kyle is sorry.

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