blessings from a gift of cashews
-- 14 April 2007
Dear everyone---this is a newsletter
. . .
I just wanted to write to say I am sorry for making fun
of your mini-Christmas gift exchange this year. I ended
up with a can of Planters peanuts, and a can of Planters
cashews. I think I shared the peanuts with the kids in
Arizona, but I brought the cashews to Haiti. I was going
to take the can to Gaspard when Larry and Larry visited.
But they had two suitcases full of snacks and Granola
bars (I think their wives were afraid there would be
nothing to eat), so the cashews stayed in Port-de-Paix.
When I was making plans to go to Bombard for Palm Sunday
and Holy Week, I decided to take the cashews for the
sisters. But getting there was a problem, because: 1)
The Land Rover had a serious clutch problem, and Pere
Cholet could not come from Bombard to PdP to pick me up;
2) the river was flooded, and no vehicles were
crossing--only kanotes (small rowboats that are guided
across the river by 4 men).
It was Providencial that
I ran into Pere Roman from Baie de Henne at Fonkoze on
Friday (before Palm Sunday) about noon. He had come to
PdP to buy provisions for Easter. Because he could not
cross the river, he had to leave his truck on the other
side---and he did not want to leave it there overnight.
So at 5PM, we left downtown PdP in 2 borrowed
trucks--full of people and supplies. We arrived at the
river about 5:15.
I cannot even begin to
describe to you what it is like to try to cross a
flooded river in Haiti at rush hour with 8 people and
provisions for 3 weeks. The first problem was
negotiating a price for the boat. Pere Roman, who is
from the Czech Republic, and I decided that I should
stay in the truck so that the price would only increase
2 times, not 4, if they boat man saw 2 blancs.
animals everywhere, shouting, mud, more shouting--but we
made it to the other side. Arrived in Bombard about 10
Palm Sunday was very
nice--with a procession from the police station to St.
Francis. Then in the afternoon, Pere Cholet and Pere
Roman switched parishes---to preach a three day Holy
Week retreat in the other's church (Sunday thru Tuesday
nights). Pere Cholet had retrieved the Land Rover from
TiRivye on Saturday, but the clutch problem was getting
worse. So on Sunday, he sent a neighbor to TiRivye to
bring back the Toyota pick-up of TiRivye. When the
neighbor arrived, he gave the cook the keys and went
home--saying nothing about the serious clutch problem in
Pere Cholet had asked me to drive for him for two events
during Holy Week: 1) to pick up the Christian brother
postulants who would be coming on Tuesday morning ( to
the nearby townof Mare Rouge) for a Mission during Holy
Week in Bombard; and 2) to drive him to PdPaix on Wed.
for the Thursday morning Chrismal Mass, and then back to
Bombard before the Holy Thursday Night Mass.
At 9 AM on Tuesday morning, we got into the Toyota and
discovered we would be going nowhere in that vehicle.
After much discussion, it was decided to try to find
Angelo, a local driver/mechanic, to see what he thought.
Fortunately, Angelo was not on a run to PAPrince, and we
met him on the road not far from the church. After
another long discussion, the consensus was that we
should take the limping Land Rover to pick up the
postulants, and Angelo would drive, I would accompany
him...along with Pere Cholet's cousin, and Madame Robert
( who needed to buy some material for some bandanas for
the upcoming ordinations). Anticipating a long day, I
packed a few snacks.
At 11 AM, off we went. The trip to Mare Rouge usually
takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes. The first part of the
trip is downhill--no problem. The second half is
up-hill. Big problem. We would drive for 15 minutes,
then sit for 30 minutes while the engine cooled. At
noon, I brought out the can of cashews. The 4 of us took
a handful, and decided to save the rest for later.
About 1:30, we arrived in
Mare Rouge. We picked up the postulants, who had been
waiting patiently for 2 hours, and at about 3:00, we
began the return trip. Again, downhill was no problem.
But the drive back UP to Bombard is very steep. The Land
Rover had NO power. Everyone got out and started to
walk. Angelo turned the vehicle around and began to go
in reverse up the mountain. He would drive for 5
minutes, and let the engine cool for 30 minutes. I
decided it would be better to accompany him, than to
worry about where he was, So I got back into the
vehicle. About 5 PM, I brought out the cashews
It is rather beautiful to view the sun setting over the
ocean in Mole St. Nicolas as you go backwards up the
At 7 PM, we reached
Angelo's house at the edge of Bombard. After a last
handful of cashews, he sent me on my way for the last 2
miles. After about 1 mile, I met up with the postulants,
Madame Robert, and the cousin near the Digicel antenna
in Bombard. Everyone got into the vehicle, and it was
then that the clutch went out completely. Everyone got
out again, and pushed the Land Rover (while I steered)
that last mile to the church. At 7:30 we arrived--just
as Pere Roman was finishing the Tuesday night mission
and everyone was singing.
At 9PM, Pere Roman left to return to Baie on a moto-taxi;
he met up with Pere Cholet who was returning from Baie
in Pere Roman's truck. At 11 PM, Pere Cholet arrived
back in Bombard on the same moto-taxi.
Angelo came over the next morning (Wednesday) to begin
to try to repair both vehicles...both with the same
clutch problem. We finished what was left of the cashews
about 11 AM. In the afternoon, Angelo headed off to
PAPrince to look for parts.
Of course, we were not able to go to PdPaix on Wednesday
for the Mass on Thursday morning. Instead, we visited
the sick to take them communion and prepared,
tranquilly, for the Easter Triduum.
So, Karen, I just wanted to let you know "the rest of
the story" about the cashews. Thanks for the great
gift...Angelo says thanks, too.
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