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  • Writer's pictureChet

Coming out of the woods

The last 10 miles had some ups and downs but was completely on a mountain road so though the ups were exhausting it was not technical at all and we finished our trek. Our hope was to make the trek in 3 days but it’s taken us 4 days and our ride out of the mountains was scheduled a day too soon and has come and gone unfortunately.

At this point we did have cell service so we were able to call Simeon to come with his motor cycle and give us a ride to a market that was just closing down up here in the mountains. We made it just before the last transport was leaving for the valley. Thank heavens. Had we missed that it would been another long night of hiking adding 20 miles to our trek.

I walked up to one of the trucks and there was a baby crying hysterically so I looked a little closer to see if I could help the mother and she was taking a juice box and poring juice into the babies mouth. The baby obviously didn’t know how to drink like that and was in turn inhaling the liquid into his lungs and was essentially drowning.

I nicely asked if I could hold him to help her out. She let me and the baby I was able to clear it’s lungs out and instantly calmed down. Man, that was a little scary there for a minute. The lack of education is sometimes debilitating. We’re working on changing that. In due time.

As we rode ten miles down the mountain in the transport there was another mother there that was in the cab with us and had her hands full with two little kids so, Lance took care of her baby for her. Hey we also make great nanny’s.

It was great being back in modern transportation but the bliss didn’t last long. The next military checkpoint became a bit of an ordeal. Instead of the usual one or two military guys at the checkpoint there was a whole brigade of them armed and ready to prove a point.

The shakedown began and it wasn’t going to be short and sweet. They made us all get out of the vehicles and unload all our gear. They checked everyone’s documentation and look through all our bags. They looked behind the seats, under the hood and under the vehicles. The commanding officer was looking to prove a point and he wasn’t going to stop until he had. Unfortunately our young mothers were undocumented Haitian’s and this guy wasn’t going to let them through.

Lance and I were devastated at what was going to happen to them. If they didn’t get let through then they would have to walk back up the mountain, 10 miles with their little kids in toe. It was not going to be a fun night.

In the end, we were allowed through and the mothers weren’t. It was dark after curfew at this point and we were forced to drive off without the mothers and a few other undocumented Haitians. That wasn’t good enough for us so we made it back to our vehicle and we waited a bit for the military guys to leave so that we could go back and see if we could find the mothers.

We headed back up the road to the military checkpoint, praying that they would be gone. If they were still there it would be trouble for us. Going back to the checkpoint, after curfew would be another opportunity for the military commander to make a point out of us. We drove up to the gate of the check point and figured we needed a story if the brigade was still there. One of the military guys opened the gate and I got out of the car to approach him.

At this point we couldn’t see if the brigade was still there so I told him that I had lost something out of my bag when we unloaded them and wanted to see if it was on the ground somewhere. He allowed me through the gate and at that point I could see that the brigade was gone…a bit of a relief.

I looked around with the military guy for a bit and of course we didn’t find anything but it gave me an opportunity to ask him what had happened to the Haitians that weren’t granted passage. He said that they were sent back up the mountain but that they probably went up a ways and then went into the woods and walked around. The woods were not friendly, full of thorns and mean vines so that wouldn’t have been easy but we hoped that that was the case.

We got back in our car and started driving back to town stopping every 100 yards or so so that Lance could get out and yell Haitian into the woods, hoping that they would hear us, “Hello Haitians. We’ve come back to give you a ride. Come out and we’ll give you a ride into town.” It started to rain which made the situation out there for them even worse. We continued to drive and stop and yell for the next 4 or 5 miles but to no avail. We weren’t able to find and help them. All we could do for them is pray that they would make it ok without too much trouble. Not a great ending to the night.

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