Haiti...and The Hard Walk, Part II
What: Hike up Tikoma (which translates to "The Hard Walk") and visit LGs family plantation in the mountains.
Distance: 10.3 miles roundtrip
Elevation: 2,350 feet of elevation gain
Time: 5 hours
This is more of a trip report...
We started our hike at 7:15 a.m. at LG's mom's home right near the Grand Goave River. The Grand Goave River is a wide river basin where many of the locals do their laundry...the basin is almost a .25 mile wide at its widest point.
As we started our hike, the river was littered with trash...but as you continue further up stream, Haiti started to look a lot different for the first time.
The trail upstream is a road for the villagers up the mountain to get down to town...much of the countries crops are grown in the mountains. The the mountain villagers transport the goods down these channels...
Since it was a Sunday, we saw many Haitians heading to church in the morning. Haitians take pride in their Sunday's best. Many of them only have one "good" outfit and they make sure they look their best. We briefly hiked with a young man that hiked miles in barefeet so he would not get his Sunday shoes dusty. He carried them the entire way...Very humbling. Another interesting thing I learned is that if a Haitian does not have a nice set of clothes...they do not go to church. This is troubling and very sad for me on different levels...I understand it's cultural, so we'll leave it at that.
We continued down the river basin...and continued for over 2 miles before we started gaining any real elevation. After about 45 minutes of hiking, we finally arrived to the base of the "Hard Walk"...a steady, steep slope up to the mountain villages.
This is a look back at the river basin...the Town of Grand Goave is at the end of the river basin. Because of the severe deforestation of the mountains, the soil no longer retains water in the mountains. It all runs off into the basin and mudslides frequently occur. In extreme cases, the river basin completely floods...this is happening in every basin in Haiti. It is an epidemic.
As we headed North and upward up the mountain on a series of several switchbacks, we looked over across the gully and saw a large cascading waterfall. I could not find the name of this waterfall...
However...the most scenic point on the trail is when you crest over the saddle and you get your first views of the mountains to the North. It is spectacular. You have 360 views...to the South is the Caribbean...and in every other direction are mountains beyond mountains, as the Haitians say.
There is a huge difference between life down below in the cities and life in the villages up above in the mountains. It's amazing...the air quality is better, the smells are enjoyable, the air is obviously cooler...In my opinion, Haiti is no different than here at home. That is, the mountains seem to call my name...regardless of where I am.
Farming is the way of life in the mountains. And it's easy to see why...fruits and vegetables trees thrive in this environment. Every tree you walk by is a tree that is bearing fruit. The ground you walk on is fertile...the soil is rich...the land is ripe. In many ways, I felt like I was experiencing a mini Garden of Eden. This place is truly a blessing.
As we were making our way up to LG's father's home, we came across a church...in the middle of worship. Absolutely beautiful...
After hiking 5.15 miles and hiking up 2,350'...we reached our destination. LG's father's home. Unfortunately, his father was not at home and was gone for church...but a sweet lady (somehow related to LG) served us Haitian Coffee, some bread, coconut, and sugar cane. We were all in a happy place...we spent half an hour up there. We enjoyed everything about this experience...the weather, the sounds, the smells, the sights, the food...it was truly a beautiful, but most importantly, a peaceful place.
However, it was time to get going...our families were ready for us to come home...because that afternoon, we were going to relax at the beach, again!
Once again, I want to thank the Weimer's and Moore's for making this an experience we will never forget. Haiti is a very unique, but special place. There is obviously the bad and the ugly...but there also exists the wonder and beauty. This place needs more people like Jen and Sean on the ground. It's not easy...unlike the pictures you see above, they rarely get to enjoy recreation. This was Sean's first hike since moving to Haiti...He doesn't have time or the resources to take time off like the rest of us. Both Jen and Sean love what they do...are honoring the Lord with their commitment...and walking a hard walk by faith on a daily basis.
They are directing Education Impact on the ground from Petit Goave, Haiti...they are supporting LG and Samuel in their education and housing them and Samuel's daughter Medjine in their home. They live by faith...trusting in the Lord's provision for their organization and their family in Haiti.
I ask that you pray with me for their strength, protection, and guidance as they navigate through this time in Haiti. I also ask that you take the time to visit their organization at: http://eihaiti.org/. Look around, see what they are about. Read their story at: http://almostmissionaries.blogspot.com/p/about-us.html . Believe me when I tell you that they are no ordinary missionaries...and what makes them so unique is what will make you fall in love with them, their story, and their mission in Haiti.
And if your heart leads you...help them out in any way. Doesn't matter if its prayer...words of encouragement on their blog...or financial support (PLEASE DONATE YOUR WEEKLY STARBUCKS STIPEND HERE: https://educationimpact.webconnex.com/SupportMHF .)
I have seen what just a little bit of support can do in their new hometown.