Relaxing in Cap Haitian
Well, we made it to the north and are just relaxing for a change! We ended up leaving FDN at 6:40 am on Friday and were at DHQ in PAP by 10:45 am. It took a bit longer than the normal 3 hours ’cause we stopped to buy fruit for our hosts at a couple of the open air markets on the way. We got to DHQ in time to see Steve, Brian and Ev before they headed to the airport to drop off Ev. We were glad to know that some of the Christmas gifts that my family gave them to bring down arrived with them. We even got to see Fedna before she left for FDN with the officer at the children’s home. She is doing well. Thanks for the prayers.
Around 12:30 pm we left PAP for northern Haiti. We had been told that the roads had been improved since our last trip north in ’04. While that was partially true, the part that hasn’t been worked on yet really slowed us down. Major Ron was right on target on the time estimate and we got to Gonaive (the place that was badly flooded in ’04) around 4:30 pm. We phoned our friends to let them know how far we had reached so that they could better gauge our arrival time and dinner.
One scary thing happened just before arriving in St. Marc (before Gonaive). Felix had swerved to avoid a pothole at the same time he noticed in his rearview mirror that a bus was trying to pass us. He sped up so as to give some room between us. Later, this bus passed us and a few minutes later we noticed that it had stopped, angling across the road, blocking traffic with some of the passengers coming off of it. Thinking that maybe it had broken down, Felix started to pass it on the righthand shoulder. Then, the men from the bus started shouting at us and waving their arms. We came to understand that they were very angry that we had blocked them when they had tried to pass us miles back down the road! We just kept saying and motioning through the glass (didn’t dare roll down the window or try to get out) that we hadn’t seen them, we meant nothing by it, etc, etc. Fortunately, there were a couple of men in the group who were peace makers and accepted our apologies and convinced the others that they should let the matter drop.
This was probably the most intimidating situation I have been in since being in Haiti, ’cause you never know what will happen with mob mentality. After they drove off, we tried to report it to the police but, even though the bus was still visible passing the police station, they said that they couldn’t do anything since we hadn’t gotten the licence plate number. We saw the bus several times later and we were able to pass it while it was unloading passengers and stay ahead of it for the rest of the trip. Thank God nothing more serious happened!
Since the time change in October, it starts getting dark around 6 pm so we ended up having to cross the mountains in the dark. Fortunately, that part of the road is in pretty good condition. We didn’t encounter too many vehicles but what we did encounter was numerous groups parading on the road, dancing to loud music coming from trucks with large speakers. Local elections were being held on Sunday, Dec. 3rd and this is they way they attract people to each of the political parties. The participants were very orderly and made way for us to pass without incident.
We arrived at the OMS compound outside of Cap Haitian at 8:20 pm, about 13½ hours after we headed out! We were exhausted, hungry and very glad to see our friends, Gordon and Doreen. We have since slept, fellowshipped, played volleyball, played with preschoolers, worshipped at home with Focus on the Family’s Promised Land DVD’s and Bill Gaither’s concerts, toured the clinic, and just relaxed. We hope to go to the beach on Tuesday. The OMS missionaries here have been wonderful and have included us in so many things. We plan to head back to PAP on Thursday and to FDN Friday afternoon.
Well, got to go. Matthew has a play date with Brianna (5), Jake (4) and Alena (2).