Due to a set of unforeseen circumstance (one which ended up having a cow passing us going up a hill) our team had to rent an off road vehicle with a pick-up truck bed. 

Many people in Haiti tend to ride in pick-up trucks that are affectionately called ‘tap-taps’. Being able to ride in the back up a pick-up allowed us to experience, in a very small way, some of the Haitian culture.

I’ve spent the last four days riding in the back of the pick-up. On Wednesday I spent a full two hours sitting cross legged in the bed of the pick-up truck. One hand holding onto the tailgate to brace myself and the other holding onto my camera waiting for just the right shot. At one point I spent a half an hour sitting in the bed while the others went inside to buy wood. Just sitting there watching, observing and listening. During this time period I came to realize that:
Riding in the back of a pick-up truck allows you to see the Haitian children who are just like other little children all around the world. Innocent, full of wonder and unknowingly accepting of their lot in life. They smile and wave and shout, “Blahn!” (which means ‘white’ or ‘foreigner’). Riding in the back of a pick-up allows you to see the younger men who have grown weary at such an early age. The majority don’t make eye contact and walk by as if you weren't there. Still others will shout out words in creole and use gestures to let you know they aren't pleased with you being there while others strive to make an income for their family by selling goods to stopped vehicles. It allows you to see the older men who sit by the roadside watching the never ending traffic or work on one of the unfinished buildings. 


Riding in the back of a pick-up truck allows you to see the little girls who at such a young and tender age walk along the sides of the busy roads gathering water for their families. It allows you to see the younger women who carry heavy burdens on their heads and in their hearts. On the rare occasion that you make eye contact they will respond with a shy smile. It allows you to see the older women who work in the numerous booths lining the road ways hoping that maybe today someone will buy the items they are selling. It allows you to see the very old men and women walking bent over deserving some sort of award for surviving an environment such as this for all of these years.

Riding in the back of a pick-up truck allows you to become intimate with the chaotic traffic that in spite of the single stoplight always seems to be moving, flowing: alive. You watch the motorcycles inch ever so near and gaze into the eyes of the driver before they speed up to pass on either side of the truck hoping to get nowhere fast. It allows you to feel the breeze of a truck as it passes way too close. It allows you to see the tap-taps and other vehicles packed with many, many people – the overflow hanging onto the sides or sitting on the roofs.

Riding in the back of a pick-up truck allows you to view the diverse architecture in this part of Haiti: grandly festooned cement structures surrounded by cement walls topped off with broken glass or barbed wire, windows and doorways secured with thick bars, half built structures attached to run down abodes with a towel acting as a front door, buildings adjacent to one another creating an unwieldy maze, beautiful flowers juxtaposed with razor sharp barbed wire.

Riding in the back of a pick-up truck allows you to see the carcasses of discarded vehicles strewn along the roadside, stick thin dogs panting under the hot Haitian sun looking for scraps to fill their empty bellies, donkeys under their heavy burdens trotting along the sides of the roads as their ancestors have done for centuries, cattle and sheep grazing in the fields or oxen pulling plows with men walking barefoot behind them.

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Riding in the back of a pick-up truck allows you to see people gathering at a single source to collect water for their families, wash clothes or grab a quick bath. 



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Riding in the back of a pick-up truck allows you to experience every bump in the road, smell the exhaust, feel the cool rain on your skin or the heat of the sun on your face, and the taste of dust in your mouth.


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Riding in the back of a pick-up truck allows you to gaze upon the wide open vistas show casing fields of grass flowing in the wind, palm trees swaying in the breeze, and flowering trees and bushes. To see the brilliant colors of the homes, cars and clothing. 



Riding in the back of a pickup truck allows you to offer a friendly smile and a quick wave to the wonderful people who call Haiti home.

 


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    Team Levanjil

    A written record of the work of God among the people of God in Haiti as members of Berean Baptist Church in Livonia, MI work with the leadership of MEBSH in Les Cayes, Haiti.

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