Written by Jay of Calvary Christian Reformed Church of Pella, Iowa
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Excursion Day. We went on an adventure to the Citadel today. We began our adventure at 6am this morning, piling into and onto a small Toyota pickup with seats attached to the pickup’s bed. Our wonderful hosts Craig and Christi informed us that it would be long and rough ride. We brought seat cushions and towels to soften the “bumps” in the road. Haitian roads are rough and are riddled with many potholes, speed bumps, large rocks, and washouts. The trip took approximately 3 hours one way. We travelled through the countryside and as always the children were lined along the road, smiling and yelling “Bon Jour”. They always greet us with a smile. The scenery during the trip was spectacular. We traveled through the mountains and deep river valleys. All of us got a small taste of mountainous tropical landscapes, laced with banana trees and palms, it was beautiful. We stopped in a small town called DonDon, and picked up some warm roasted peanuts and bananas. They were awesome! As we continued toward the Citadel, we came across an overturned transport truck. It had rolled over onto the road. We could just slip by, and continued our journey. Thankfully no one was injured. Unknown to us at the time, this accident will play a role in our return trip.
The Citadel was built by Henry Christophe after Haiti won their independence from France. He built the Citadel in defense for an invasion that never came. It was built from 1805 to 1815. The tour guide informed us that 10,000 people died during the construction of the Citadel. The team chose different methods of climbing to the top of the mountain, some chose horses and the others chose to hike. The top of the Citadel is 300 feet above sea level . We did not climb the entire distance, our truck took us about 1/2 way up the mountain. The hike was steep and physically challenging, but everyone eventually made it to the top. The views from the trail and Citadel were amazing. It really is an engineering marvel. You can see for hundreds of miles in all directions. You really can’t describe the views with words. God’s creation is wonderful. Only God could create such beauty.
The trip home was the start of another adventure. I mentioned a rollover accident earlier in the blog. We were approximately 1 hour into our trip back when another traveler informed us that the road ahead was blocked and no traffic could pass. The same accident was now blocking the entire road. So, we had to turn around go back towards the Citadel and go around the other side of the mountain. This added another 2 hours on to our trip. On our new route, we again saw beautiful tropical scenery, mountain passes and deep valleys. Then it began to rain. This is a good thing for the Haitian people, but with no cover in the pickup, we were soaked. We passed the time with singing. We sang Lord I Lift Your Name on High, How Great Thou Art, Sanctuary, and yes, The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round. I am thankful that we all returned safely. It was a great adventure. Keep praying for us as we finish out the last couple of days in Haiti.