Thursday, September 2, 2010

Hold hands as you cross the... waterfall?

You may remember me mentioning in my last post about still waiting for my chance to experience the Sodo waterfall... Check!
Yesterday afternoon, I tagged along with the film crew on their afternoon adventure and it was fantastic! We tread our way up through Oranje and Turpin to the landmark high above the mission. Xavier (our Haitian driver) steered us up gravel turnpikes and through rivers as we climbed and took in the beauty of the lush mountain land. There's something about the higher you go in Haiti, the more you realize the beauty of the nation. Seeing the farm fields on the sides of the mountains, vibrant blossoming trees, the shimmering sea far below, and people going to and from their villages with wide grins and waves as you zoom past. Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in life behind the mission gates, but yesterday's trek was an instant cure.
Upon our arrival in Sodo, we took sidewalk stairs down to where the rapids flowed and cool water droplets kissed our skin. I can't even express the refreshment after sweating many layers in the classroom all morning. I was so eager to get into the water, but I was warned that the rocks were slippery and to proceed cautiously in my rubber flip flops.
Before I knew it, 3 Haitians were at my side. 2 older men held my arms and a little boy stood in front of me showing me which rocks were safe or unsafe to step on. Now me being slightly uncoordinated (okay, really uncoordinated), I tried to be appreciative and accepting of their kindness, but a lingering thought began to enter my mind. The more we climbed, I became less worried that I would slip without someone to catch me versus taking down the whole crew of helpers (this would not be unusual knowing my history).
Here's why: When I would put out my hands to balance they would grab my arms and urge me in the forward direction which only lessened my thread of stability. The difficulty increased as we ascended toward the waterfall and the water surging around our feet grew more powerful, not to mention the thick mist spraying into my eyes and making it nearly impossible to see. Still my trusty friends stayed by my side.
As the rocks grew few and father between and the water current intensified, the risk of me pulling down my friends grew ever greater and I decided the best option would be for me to get down on all fours - which is what I did. In broken Creole I thanked them for their assistance and pressed on alone. Luckily, they let me go. I think they were just as aware of our risk of tumbling and being taken downstream as I was, although they did a good job of not letting on.
I pressed on after my more competent friends who were already in the heart of the surge and sat in the whirlpool of water blowing and spraying and pouring down everywhere. It was deafening and stinging and exhilarating. Here's a shot of one of the waterfalls. Isn't it glorious?

I didn't want to leave... until I started shivering (much to unpopular belief - yes, shivering CAN happen in Haiti).
After sufficient filming and picture snapping, we returned to the truck waterlogged and chilled to the bone. I actually had to ask Xavier to turn down the AC on our drive back to the mission.
It was a great time... One that I will continue to reminisce about in the days ahead when cloud cover is non-existent and the cement walls of my house begin to radiate heat on the inside.
In the meantime, it's back to the books... Science texts and curriculum documents along with the new lineup of novel study chapters are calling my name. Today I swept up 2 months worth of dust, dead insects and droppings of lizards, mice and I'd rather not know what else from the classroom floor. So far there have been no snake sightings, although I did have to whisk out a small tarantula with my broom. My students come to visit me from time to time. I dare say that I sense a hint of anticipation for school to start?
Stay tuned for more adventures to come!

1 comment:

Twila said...

so happy for you to have this adventure---- and I am thankful for the ones who stayed by your side!!