Tracking Ed Monroe as he travels to Haiti and other exotic(?) places

Monday, February 12, 2007

Monday at 6 PM

Monday evening
I still admit to being tired this morning. The night went by too fast and here it is almost time for work. We start again at 7:30 AM. Our Sunday started off with a prayer service. During that service, Garron spoke about courage. He told us how courageous the Haitian people are. He described a Haitian woman who passed through the clinic. She had a mass or growth on her head. It was covered with fleas and flies. She kept it covered with a babushka. She has been to many doctors and tried many things and wondered if we could do anything to help her. But whether we could help her or not, she accepted her condition as it was and would go on with her life. This is so much different from the people in America. We would be angry, depressed, and so on. The Haitians, however, accept the fate that has been put before them and move on. It again shows me that we have entirely too much stuff and are many times unhappy because we do have so much stuff. The Gospel for the prayer service was on the Beatitudes and focused our minds on the mission we are here for. Courage, I pray that we all have the courage to face what life brings us.
After a great breakfast of pancakes and bacon, we took off for Bassin Blu. No, that is not a spelling error but how it is spelled here. Bassin Blue is the beautiful waterfall that is WNW of Jacmel. The trip was an adventure in itself. Jacmel is filled with thousands of people who are in town for national Karnaval. The UN and Haitian police are out in force and the traffic is more than twice the traffic I have seen over the years. When we arrived into Jacmel on the main road we were diverted to a side street and tried to find a way around the crowds. The streets were filled with people, cars, trucks, motorbikes and you were lucky to make a lane to pass through. At one point we encountered a line of cars coming towards us and neither had any place to go due to the narrow passage and the stream of people passing around us. A heated argument ensued between our main man, Boyer, and the several men in the other vehicle. After a while, a Haitian policeman appeared and helped us to back up to allow the other vehicles to proceed and we were off through the crowd. We drove down a very rough and dirty street and finally reached the road leading WNW that we were trying to get to. We took a sharp left and drove on a dirt trail towards the river. This is where I saw the large truck get stuck last year and I expected to see it still there, stripped if all useful items and abandoned. I am happy to report that I am wrong. It must have gotten out of the large hole it had fallen into. So it is over the river, passing the men and women bathing and doing laundry. Yes, there were some x-rated scenes. We forded the river and continued on the dirt road a ways. Boyer stopped and engaged the hubs for our 4 wheel drive up the mountains. There are no street signs and we took a fork in the road at an unmarked corner and climbed up the very steep gravel strewn road. We climbed up and up, slowly easing over washed out areas and avoiding the people and animals who passed by on the road. We passed many huts and partially completed buildings. The small children would wave then hold out their hands for something from us. Near the top we stopped for a picture moment. The view was the city of Jacmel and the Jacmel bay. You could see the roads, the harbor area with the light blue colors followed by the darker blue of the deeper water. It was easy to pick out the abandoned ship in the harbor and the Cap Lamandou hotel and other landmarks. When we arrived at Bassin Bleu there were several cars so we knew that we would not have the place to ourselves. We parked the car and Boyer engaged our Haitian helpers and we were off on a 15 minute (I think-I did not wear my watch) on a trail that led up and down the hills and over the slippery rocks. When we got to one point we encountered a group from the state of Oregon who were heading back from the falls. They are working in Port-Au-Prince on a physical therapy mission. Arriving at the falls, we encountered several men who were finishing off their rum bottles. Yes, we had to climb down the rock using the rope and cross the slippery rocks and ford the stream to reach the large rock where we stowed the small amount of gear that we brought and dove into the water. Everyone warned you to hold your nose as you dove into the water. The current was stronger than I remembered and it was a hard swim. Donna, and several others, swam to the falls and climbed to the first opening. Then they dove into the water. One young man had climbed higher and threw his cap out and dove after it into the pool. Then it was time to leave. Everyone had a good time and hated to leave. Both Donna and I took a fall. Donna is okay but I scarped my shins on the wet, slippery rocks and discovered that they were as sharp as I had heard that they were. No major broken skin and Neosporin will heal it soon. Our return trip was so easy that all of us were surprised at how we got through town with relative ease.
We had about 1 hour at the clinic before we left for Ambians and national Karnaval. The streets were jammed with people and we had to form a line to get to Ambians. We were pushed and shoved as the mob of people swirled around us. At Ambians, all of the prime positions overlooking the street were filled with Haitians, a group of young people from France, a DJ and his sound equipment from a local radio station. We stood behind them and looked out at the parades as it passed by. The bar was as difficult as ever as they are very slow and never know how to make change even in their own currency. It is a sad situation for sure. We were supposed to eat at 5 PM and our dinners arrived at 7:30 PM and were messed up as usual even though we ordered two days before. Then we waited over 1 hour for the check. When we tried to leave, we again formed a chain and scooted across the street in spite of the parade. Now the search was on to find Son-Son and our Tap tap and the other truck. We walked several blocks through the crowds and there was Son Son but not the second truck. It arrived a few minutes later and we rode home through more crowds of people. It was about 9:30 when we got back. After a shower, I was ready for bed and too tired to write. Sorry! I know some of my readers were waiting to hear about our adventure. I started on this at 6 AM and finally finished at 6 PM.
Note to anonymous: Your comment said that I missed someone and at a quick review I do not see it. How about a little more of a clue.


Anonymous said...

That's OK, Ed, my feelings are not too hurt.
I will continue to do wound care, scabies-palooza and pharm labels anyway.

Anonymous said...

Me too.