Thursday, October 7, 2010

I thought I was going to die

Today I walked up the mountain (well down this side and then up to Gramothe) to go to school. Alone.

It only took me 45 minutes to get there from Willem and Beth's.

Shhhh. Don't tell anyone that it's only a little over 2 miles from the house to the school. Since I thought I was going to die of a heart attack on the steepest part of the road and I had to stop 4 or 5 times to catch my breath, I was pretty impressed that it didn't take an hour.

My two favorite students: Rosias and Mogley
Once I got to school (and caught my breath) my Creole tutor, Arold, helped me talk to the principal about my schedule. He wasn't quite finished with it yet, so I studied Creole verbs in the cafeteria while I waited. Two seventh grade boys came and found me as soon as their class went on break. They are both pretty good with English and are eager to practice with native speakers. They are also super cute. They asked me all sorts of questions: Are you here for school today? Are you a Christian? Do you see God in your life? Are you married? Do you know many Creole words?

Then I ate a delicious lunch of rice and beans with Arold and some other teachers. They spoke only in Creole, so it was a pretty boring lunch. But it sure did taste good!

After lunch I received my teaching schedule, had Arold interpret it for me, and then started the trek home. It looked like it could rain, and I didn't want to slip and slide down the mountain! I've done that already, and I don't care to do it again. Just as I got to the road, one of the girls from Laboule was coming up the road. I couldn't figure out why she wasn't in class. I thought all the kids went back to class after lunch. She asked me a question, but I didn't understand her. She dismissed me with "bye-bye," so I started walking.

I was just thinking to myself how wonderful it was to walk down the mountain when I heard a pitter-patter behind me. Nerlande was following me down the mountain. I waited for her and asked in Creole if school was out for the day. She said it was. Then I asked if she wanted to walk with me. Her face light up and she said, "Wi!" Then she told me the other kids were coming. We waited for them for 5-10 minutes, but I got impatient and told Nerlande and Makendy, who had joined us, that we should just walk. They agreed. They practiced their English words all the way down the mountain.

The Gramothe side of the road. There's one more turn.
After we turned a corner we could see the other kids walking down the road. Nerlande yelled to them, and they started running. We waited for them, and when they arrived I had about 15 traveling companions. I wanted to take a picture of them, but decided that the chance of rain outweighed that desire. Now for those of you who have been to Gramothe, you know there is a "goat path" or shortcut off the last turn (when going down) off the Gramothe road. At this point the kids were going to take the shortcut. Half of them wanted me to go with them and the other half thought I should take the longer, less steep path. I told them, "Mwen pa kabrit. Mwen va tonbe!" I am not a goat. I will fall. They laughed at me and I said goodbye. I was not going to take that shorter but steeper path.

Just as I said goodbye to the kids, Arold and some teachers came along. Arold says, "Britney, I think you can do the shortcut." So I told him what I told the kids. He still thought it would be okay, so I decided to do it. The kids went wild and cheered for me. I shooed them ahead of me and carefully picked my way down the short cut. The Gramothe side of the shortcut and the riverbed were not that bad.

The other side was a different story. The path is hidden by some bushes, so I couldn't see it right away. When I saw it, I'm sure my eyes popped out of my head. It was SOOOOO STEEP!! The kids encouraged me, allowed me to stop and rest, and held my hands when they could. Some of the girls even stayed back with me when I had to stop to breathe. Eventually we came to a little clearing where I stood for a while to let the line behind me pass through. I'm sure those guys were happy the slow blanc was out of their way! After the clearing I had to climb up some more steep parts, but when I got to the top all the kids were waiting on the porch of a house near the path. I asked Dania if all the kids were waiting for her, and she just laughed. I think they wanted to see if I could actually make it.

However, my walk was not finished. I still had to walk up a big hill to get to the intersection where I would turn to go to Beth and Willem's house. The kids were all Chatty Kathies. Asking me questions and telling me things. I was breathing so heavy people probably thought I had just run a marathon. It was at this point that I began, again, to think I was going to die. Nerlande and Marie Ange held my sweaty hands the rest of the way up the hill. I was happy for their assistance, but not their body heat!

After what seemed like an eternity, we finally got to the top of the hill and the intersection where we parted ways. I was never so happy to desann (go down) to the Charles' home!  The kids, who were barely sweating and not out of breath, still had to walk up two big hills to get to the main road where I believe they would take a tap-tap to the Children's home.


  1. Sounds insane! I'm glad you survived :)

  2. It WAS insane, but God got me through. Round two is Monday. :)

  3. Sounds like you're going to get lots of exercise there. :)