A Car, A Truck, And 30 Hours
First off, thank you SO much for all of the comments! I’ve loved seeing familiar names from waaayyy back saying hi. What a great way to come back to this thing I love and missed. You guys rock!
Now, let me tell you about the past day and a half…
So all day yesterday things were plugging along nicely. Then I went to pick the kids up from school. It was a Bible study day for me, which means that I go pick the kids up at school, along with my friend Naomi, who is also their Principal. She can’t leave until 3:15, so we wait, she hops in the car, we rush back to Camp Marie, the kids hop out of the car, I turn the car around and drive back out the driveway and head to St. Marc, where we meet with a few other ladies and we do Bible study. All of this goes down within an hour or so, give or take.
Yesterday I decided to leave a bit early and go into Montrouis, the community where our kids go to school, to pick up a plate of street food to take with me for supper. In case you don’t know this, Montrouis is kind of legendary in Haiti for it’s main stretch of road because it’s basically about a block of street food vendors and fruit sellers. It’s crowded and congested with cars and motorcycles and busses and trucks all honking and squeaking by each other, or getting themselves into what we like to call a “blokis”, which usually involves a stare down between two vehicles to see who is going to back up or turn just a bit to open the road up again while lines of cars honk from behind, and any number of people will drive up to the front of the mess thinking that for some miraculous reason they’ll be able to get through when no one else is. #everysingletime
I found a vendor (not one I usually use) and pulled over, parked and hopped out. I ordered my plate of legume, which is a veggie mash typically served with white rice and bean sauce. It’s so good! The vendor asked me for $5 H more than she should have and I paid it because I didn’t have the energy to argue with her. Street food prices are pretty standard, as in everyone everywhere charges the same price for a plate of food, no matter what it is. When you have a whole street of people to choose from you don’t need to go back to the lady that overcharges you just to see if she can get away with it.
After I got my food I back tracked to the gas station right by my kids school to pick up some bread from the attached convenience store. You guys, my kids inhale bread. Like 4 loaves a week some weeks. I can’t keep up. Alex, my six year old who eats like a teenager, will often park himself at the table with a bag of bread, a plate, a knife, the jar of peanut butter and the bottle of honey and proceed to down no less than 4 peanut butter and honey sandwiches. Peanut butter and honey is his love language.
Got my bread and headed up to get the kids. They hopped in and we sat in the AC for about 15 minutes to wait for Naomi. We headed out, and that’s when the fun started (that was sarcasm).
A few minutes down the road and the car was making bad noises and not seeming normal. I decided to pull over and as I did it just quit. I called Chris, and we trouble shot as much as we could. about 5 minutes later it turned over again. The gauges were all reading normally, so I went on my way, hoping we could creep home. No bueno.
A few more minutes down the road and I had to pull over again. The car quit again and this time things were worse. Called Chris again. He called Evens, who lived just around the corner. Evens took a look and we knew it was overheating, even though the temperature gauge was reading normally. There was steam coming from the engine. After over 30 minutes of pouring water on the radiator to try and cool it down enough to add more coolant Evens called Chris to come and check on things. I take the other car with Naomi and head to St. Marc to try and salvage Bible study.
Literally just after we arrived in St. Marc and said hello I got a phone call to tell me that I needed to turn around and head back because the car needed to be towed home. All the frowns.
I find Chris and the kids on the side of the road. Chris is waiting for Evens to come and tells me to go drop Naomi off and then come back, so I do. I get back and the guys hook the cars up, we pile in and we tow the car home. While we’re driving Chris is giving the me the low down on what happened. They realized that we blew a rad hose somewhere down by the motor, which was why it was hard to find. It also means that the clacking noise I heard initially was the motor trying to destroy itself.
Today Evens spent the day working on the car. Got the hose off, and Chris went to St. Marc to find a replacement. I’m not really sure what the status of things is on that because I had my head buried in accounting all day, and I was afraid to ask.
I went to go get the kids from school today and when I came back Chris told me he’d just gotten a call that the white delivery truck, our main work horse, was broken down. It’s once again stuck in reverse. Being stuck in revers means that we can’t send another of our vehicles to tow it like we normally would, because it would mean about an hour of having the clutch engaged, which would destroy the clutch.
In order to get the truck home Evens (have I mentioned that he’s amazing?!?) took a motorcycle to St. Marc so he could track down a tow truck. Now, know that when I say tow truck, what I mean is a flat bed tow truck. The kind where they have a winch that they use to pull your vehicle up on the bed, then they tie it down. Sadly, I can tell you that it’s a really cool process to watch. I know this because we’ve had to do it too many times.
Once Evens located a tow truck the plan was to head out to the Artibonite Valley where they got stuck, and tow the truck back. The update is that it’s in St. Marc staying with Boss Atou, a mechanic that does a good job on our work trucks. Tomorrow he’ll take a look at things and we’ll see if it’s an easier fix, or if the transmission needs to be rebuilt, again.
Welcome to vehicle issues in Haiti. We’ve come to terms with the fact that it’s never one thing here, and I think we do a pretty good job of rolling with the punches, but you know what would make me really happy???
A new truck.
We’ve been fundraising for a new truck for about 2 years now, and you guys, as of writing this we’re only about $9,000 away from our goal of $55,000. Getting a new truck would mean that we could downgrade the white truck to be used for repairs and local errands, and get a bigger, stronger truck that has a higher weight capacity than any of the vehicles we currently have. Did you know that every load of filters is about 5 tons of weight? It’s all cement and sand and gravel and half a dozen men on the truck each time, and after many years, things start wearing out and falling apart. It would be amazing to have a reliable vehicle again so we don’t have down days and so our filter recipients got uninterrupted service. And I would love to see us spending less on vehicle maintenance. Can you believe that a couple years ago we spent over $10,000 US on vehicle maintenance and repairs in a 9 month period? Yeah, it’s crazy. That’s 100 filters. It sucks.
If you’d like to contribute to helping us get our new truck, knowing that it’s going to help countless families get clean water, you can go to our website and choose the best option to donate: www.cleanwaterforhaiti.org/donate. We would love it if you would help us spread the word too. We’re Clean Water for Haiti on Facebook and cleanwaterforhaiti on Instagram.