5 Minutes of My Day: Driving Along
The keys jangle and smack against the flat of my palm. Eric tosses them to me and says, “Giddy up babe. Time to pull up our boot straps and get to truckin’.” He loves to drive me nuts talking in southern expressions. It’s 4:00 am and I’m exhausted, no way I’m getting behind the wheel of our little Terios. We pile all of our junk in the car as the team and local Haitians pack into the bus. We’re maxed out, no room in either vehicle.
It begins to rain, it’s dark outside. I begin to pray for safety along the road as we begin our 6 hour trek ahead. As I doze in and out of sleep, I hear Eric speaking with one of our Haitian staff in the front seat. They talk of life, the new Hillsong Album and energy drinks..I laugh to myself, such a normal conversation. I wake to a drunk man wandering in the road. They talk of his safety and what his life must be like. I can sense Eric’s worry for the man as he speaks. Asleep again. I awake at 6:30 to the sun rising and the car coming to a stop. I hear Rudy our staff member say, “they’re saying stop, I’ll be back.”
I raise up and become fully aware of the non-existent traffic on the road. No people, animals, sound. It’s silent. The complete opposite of normal. Rudy is gone, I don’t know where he went. I look up and our other staff member Jeanty is stepping off the bus, talking with the people along the road. Our bus driver and attendant Bernard and Mano get off the bus and begin checking the tire pressure, oil and such. I’ve been in this situation before. There’s a demonstration up the road somewhere. Probably about gas prices, unemployment, you name it. Eric and I make calls and check our road conditions email lists to get as much info as possible. But we know, we have no reason to worry. Why? Let me tell you.
I see Jeanty and wave him down, he’s already contacted a policeman he knows. The policeman is coming to escort us to PAP within the hour. (That’s going into the demonstration and out the other side to meet us, then back through with us.. a group of strangers, mind you). He’s preparing to walk up the road to the next UN station to see if they could escort us as well. Bernard and Mano, after checking the bus, decided to replace a tire that looks low, just in case and have already checked with a local to see if we can use their trees for the bathroom, they oblige. The local men along the road are strangers to us, but I hear them strategizing on how to get us safely through. They’re fighting about the best way, one man says he will not allow us to go through at all. “They could have problems” he says. But then I remember Rudy.. where is he? I call him and he doesn’t answer. A few minutes later, I get a call.. he’s walked up the road. Traveled over a mile in person to check the roads for us. He’s stopped multiple drivers coming through to check on conditions ahead. They assure us it is only traffic now, no demonstration any longer. Only when they all agree things are safe, do we proceed.
One of the first things people ask us when they learn of our lifestyle is a version of the question “But isn’t Haiti dangerous?“
Before I speak, I still my tongue. Then, I speak truthfully and transparently. May I share it with you?
Check back for part two, tackling the emotional and controversial question of danger in Haiti.
5 Minutes of My Day is a series of the more intimate moments in our ministry. Launching off of something Eric said to me one day: “When you are overwhelmed or stressed and Satan is on you, focus on the little things. The small moments that make you remember why you live this life. Why you love this ministry.” So here it is. Snapshots of 5 minutes of my day.