Thursday, January 21, 2010

I hear the DR is lovely this time of year.

Yesterday was a busy day. Katie did a good job of chronicling it; for anyone who saw the picture of me with our little Haitian friend I hope you had the same thought as me. "He looks terrible!" When I saw the pictures I immediately shaved and ran a comb through my hair. Sometimes in the middle of all this chaos you forget to make sure you don't look like you are in the middle of chaos.

Haitians won't leave the house if they are not dressed as best as they can be. Two weeks ago I would have said that seems ridiculous in the midst of all their poverty. However, now think it is admirable that they don't want to look as bad off as they are. Kind of a "don't let em see you bleed" mentality.

I was asked to take my awesome Spanish skills and go help navigate on a mission to the DR border. A truck with supplies and volunteers had blown out its transmission in Carbral. I eagerly volunteered, but was really unaware of what I was jumping into. I was in the truck for 13 hours with two very interesting characters. "Very interesting characters" on this blog means "might be crazy".

Let me be clear how we were doing this. We had 1 truck, 20 g of diesel, my US cell phone, and the name of a town. We were not sure if/when the border was open, exactly where the truck and team was, or how far it was in the DR.

"Truck" is generous. It was a typical Haitian Box truck- the head lamps were dim, there was only 1 working side mirror (which was cracked), and it had "A Vende" (Creole: For Sale?) spray painted on the side. It probably wouldn't be street legal in any other place, but... degaje.

Our main contact's cell phone died so we couldn't ask him exactly where he was or what it looked like. We didn't have a map, so we were not sure where this town was. We also didn't have the most conversationally fluent Spanish speaker.

We managed to locate them around 1 am (we left PAP at 5 pm). We split the load between the two trucks. We towed the brokedown deuce and a half (Big Truck) with a 4 cylinder diesel truck (small truck).

I wasn't staring at the speedometer the whole time (someone had to watch the 1 side mirror), but I think we averaged 15 mph. We didn't break anything, but we did torque some metal severely. We pulled back into campus as 7 am.

I would say the trip was a success. We got the team and the supplies here (Cooking Gas!) and we only got in 1 wreck. Don't worry, it was a Haitian fender bender- meaning we are not sure who scraped against who, and we just yelled at each other in Creole.


1 comment:

  1. Leon says this post is you, Ben, all you! You're crackin' us up! Especially the part about combing your hair after looking at the pics.

    As I read, all I could think is how miserable a 13 hour road trip is in the best of circumstances, much less the way you did it. And yet, you write with humor and make it sound so safe and simple - and I KNOW it was neither!

    Anyway, thanks again for sharing your stories. Keep 'em coming. :) Love y'all!



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