Friday the 13th

I’m not a superstitious person at all and don’t plan on starting any time soon.  I do like to make fun of superstitions.  Is that bad?  I wanted to share one time on our trip where things got a little heated.  That will be the closest to a Friday the 13th story you will get.

We were headed back from our work site in Bono for the day on Saturday.  One of the guys was asking our security if we could stop in the market and get some bananas for the trip back.  That started the whole conversation of what a banana was.  In Haiti they call bananas figs and they call plantains bananas.  We finally made it through that confusion and our security guy told him no, not on Saturday.  We had to drive through the market and across a river to get to the work site.  The market had been big, but not overwhelming every other day.  However, Saturday this place was packed.  We had a driver that we had not had before and he seemed a little unsure of himself.  Back to the journey to the mission.

Our driver stopped and let someone out of the front and off he went into the jungle.  He turned to us and said “bano” which from my limited Kreole means bathroom.  The guy is in the jungle and our driver puts it in reverse and goes about 50 yards in reverse down the road.  Then we turn into a side road.  The guy comes out of the jungle and can’t find us.  Our driver pulls out picks him up and puts it back into reverse.  Apparently he had missed a turn.  I’m not sure how they find anything in Haiti.  There are no street signs or house numbers.

We are back on track and getting ready to go over the river into the market.  People had set up along the path we normally take so we are going to have to drive the length of the river to get back on the road.  Or so we thought.  Our driver stops in front of one persons selling some produce and rice and lays on the horn.  I guess he is expecting her to pick up and move everything.  Meanwhile, some older lady starts dancing around the back of the tap-tap and grabbing at people.  She gets to one of our translators and he smacks her in the head with his shirt and yells something at her.  Then we start moving forward.

I look out around the front of the truck and see an 80lb bag of rice in our path. BOOM!  The truck hits the bag of rice with the front passenger side tire and can’t get over it.  The driver continues to try to get over the bag while we are all yelling at him.  He rips the bag open and then puts it in reverse.  The lady is yelling at the top of her lungs at the driver and she runs to get the bag of rice.  Rice is pouring out as she moves the bag, yelling the whole time.

The driver ignores her and continues on to the road.  We have to drive around the other vendors to make it to the road.  We finally double back and make it to the main road.  The lady has made her way through the market and is waiting on us in the middle of the road.  I’m not sure how much an 80lb bag of rice is, but our driver should have paid for it.  She gets out of the way and we continue to drive the whole time the driver and the lady arguing.  Up ahead their is a tap-tap loading people in and a truck to the right with a flat tire.  Our driver is still arguing with the lady and tries to squeeze through the small opening between the two trucks.  I’m pretty sure he grazes the guy changing the tire.

Now, let me set the stage.  I’m sitting in the back looking at the lady who is yelling at our driver.  By this time most of the market is watching this scene.  Then the guy on the right who is changing his tire with a machete jumps up after being bumped.  He has a machete in his right hand and has his left hand in the cab yelling something in Kreole.  After getting nowhere he comes to the back of the truck where all of us are sitting.  I don’t care what language you are speaking, when someone is yelling at you with a machete in their hand you start to get concerned.  I look at our security guy and he is off in lala land looking down at the truck bed.  The Haitian man with the knife is still yelling at us and is slipping in some English words.  These are not words that I use, let’s just leave it at that.  After his tirade our security guy yells something at him and the guy hands his machete to another guy to finish changing the tire.  I’m not sure what our security guard said to him, but we were all in agreement that he should have said it 5 minutes earlier.  The angry Haitian man wave as we left and all was well.

Needless to say it was nice to get back to the mission on Saturday and glad that Sunday was a day of rest.

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