Something you probably know about me: I’m a total wuss. As far as I know, I’ve always been this way. I’m not one to go cliff jumping, I’ll most likely never decide to take up mountain climbing, I get light-headed when I see heights… even in movies. I don’t even like ladders. Our third full day in Haiti, I had to get over all of that really quickly. We woke up, had breakfast, and piled into the back of a big pick-up truck with a steel frame around the outside.
Alright, so that’s challenge #1. This scares the hoohaa out of me. Driving 60 mph in the back of a truck with nothing holding me in… yikes. Also, for all practical purposes, there are no traffic laws in Haiti. So people are whipping past us as we make our way up the mountain on the gravel road. It ended up being amazing. We sang songs and played games and took 50,000 pictures of the breathtaking views. I did have to scoot away from the back side as I was afraid of slipping out and face planting in the gravel.
We stopped halfway up the mountain in a small village to play games and meet some gorgeous kids. (More on that another day.) But, when we made it all the way up the mountain, we got to the main event. We saw an amazing waterfall called Saut-d’Eau (photo from Wikipedia) that is sometimes used for Vodou “healings.” We saw a few sick elderly people cleansing themselves in the waterfall, hoping to be healed.
Challenge #2: I’m sort of afraid of water. Specifically water I can’t control. Baths are fine. Swimming pools are great, as long as no one is touching me or trying to dunk me, rain is nice. (I blame the YMCA in Jacksonville, Illinois for this drowning fear.) Do you know what kind of water they have at waterfalls? Rushing, noisy, completely out of control water that sweeps you up into the unknown. Do you know what that water is rushing past? Rocks. Lots of rocks.
Challenge #3: Climbing up rocks that are very sharp and stabby and really slippery. So you know what I did? I slipped my shoes off and “climbed” to the top of the waterfall (challenge #4: heights) on those slippery and sharp algae-covered rocks. The whole time I was climbing, I was telling myself I’d be fine and telling other people how much Dave would have liked it. But seriously. He would have loved it. When I got back down to the bottom, I was sort of amazed at myself. I wanted to yell, “yeah! that just happened, suckas!” But I didn’t because I was still pretending to be a grown-up at that point of the trip.
The rest of our evening was a sweet time to be together with our team. We danced in the rain and sang songs together and rested. And I kept wanting to yell, “you guys! can you believe i just did all of that?”
Haiti keeps teaching me strength I didn’t know I had. Last year I was surprised by powering through the pain of my ankles and dealing with the realization that God had called me to adoption. This year I learned that I’m a lot tougher than I knew I was. I can climb ladders and waterfalls. I can do my part of being in charge of a group of teenagers. And even more surprising to me, I could do it without Dave holding my hand the whole way. I was nervous about going on this trip without him, and I’m proud to say (though I missed him) I did it.