Today was a wild day. Going up to a remote village in the mountains meant several things, including a clearer understanding of the word “remote”:
· Exciting travel opportunities, including changing vehicles midway up because the bus couldn’t navigate the roads any further.
· Four wheel drive vehicles with open truck beds to ride in when there were no more roads, only riverbeds and paths through trees.
· Beating the rain back down the mountain at the end of the day – because if it’s raining in the mountains, it’s flooding the aforementioned riverbeds down below. When the guides say “we’ve got to go” they mean “we’ve got to go or we won’t get back down tonight”. Lesson learned!
· Pushing vehicles through muddy water was a group activity at one point, as was shooting the riverbed before it got too deep. Our intrepid travelers got into the spirit of things and were whooping and hollering (much to the amusement of the watching Haitians) as each vehicle made it to the other side.
· After twists and turns, our team was surprised to find themselves on an expanse of beach – and at the ocean. Louis had decided they were wet and couldn’t possibly get any wetter, so an impromptu swim was offered. Again, the Haitians laughed as our team jumped out of the vehicles and raced each other to the water, fully clothed.
· And if that wasn’t enough adventure for one day, at the conclusion of the swim, a few realized they were standing on fire ant hills. A quick dip back into the water took care of most of the crawling ants, but a few team members wound up with welts. Hydrocortisone cream was liberally applied back at the camp!
And, sadly, going to a remote village was sobering as well:
There are 132 kids at the orphanage; all with rampant scabies, lice, fevers, and malnutrition. More than one medical person cried at the sight. These kids are so remote that teams cannot get to them except during the dry season – and most teams are not experienced or hardy enough to make the trip. It says a lot about our teams’ reputation with El Shaddai that they are willing to take them up there. Never the less, the conditions are hard to deal with. There seems to have been a general worsening of the orphans’ condition in the past year since the last team was there (only for one day and only a very small part of the medical team went last year).