I feel like this is one of “those” weeks. A “this is Haiti” type week.
On the weekend we had our annual Christmas party and it was lots of fun. During the day we let a couple of the workers use the trucks to haul stuff like sand. This is normal. One of them left and came back not too long after saying that he was uncomfortable driving the truck because it was making a really bad noise and something felt “off”.
That something “off” was that two of the main bolts on the drive shaft (you know, that part that runs under the entire vehicle to turn the wheels…) had broken loose and the others were barely hanging on. Had the others fallen off… I don’t even want to think about it. Let’s sum it up with lots of headaches, lots of money and lots of time to fix it.
Normally this wouldn’t be a big deal, but this week we’re gearing up to start moving dirt out of the new property so we can begin work on the driveway. You may remember me mentioning that for months we’ve been buying up used pavers from all over Gonaives. They’ve been redoing the streets with asphalt, and as they come to a new road they tell the people living there that if they do the work of lifting up the interlocking pavers, they can keep them. Most make piles in front of their homes and then people like us come and buy them. The only reason we would even consider a paved drive at the new land is that it’s been irrigated and used for farm land for many years, so the earth has been turned over many times and when it rains it gets really soft and muddy. There’s no way we would be able to drive the work trucks, or even passenger vehicles in and out without getting stuck. That and the drive will be going right by the office and house, which will have windows open all the time. Just helps to keep the dust down and save office equipment like printers and computers, not to mention the cleaning.
So, we’ve been staking things out and getting the materials for form work, but before we can “go” we need to remove about 8 inches of dirt through the whole area. Thankfully another mission has a bobcat and we’ve made arrangements for them to come and spend 1-2 days (however long it takes) to move the dirt out. To do it efficiently we’ll need to run our trucks on a cycle of loading, hauling and unloading in an area nearby where people want the dirt, and then back again – all day long. So, with those plans in place, it would of course be typical, and so very Haiti, that one of the trucks would have potentially major problems this week.
Thankfully it was just the bolts. Evens was able to get new ones and have the truck back in working order on Monday. One crises taken care of…
We have visitors arriving tomorrow, the same day that we’re starting work at the new site, so this means a lot of people going in different directions. Things like trying to figure out who needs to be where and do what… But, we’re good at this now and everything is falling into place.
That is, until last night.
Yesterday Chris went target shooting with a friend of ours and on the way to take him home as they were driving slowly over what we call “the beach road”, a rock busted a hole in the oil pan of the Santa Fe.
They were in an area where they were driving in ruts in the road, going no faster that 40 kms/hour. When the oil light came on the guys stopped the car and got out, to see a trail of oil going back down the road. Once they checked under the car and saw the hole they walked back and found the culprit – a rock the size of Chris’ fist, but not sticking out of the ground more than half an inch. Chris figures that everything just lined up the right way so that as they were driving in the ruts, the car dipped or bumped down just in that moment and hit the rock. It wasn’t a light hit, because it busted a hole the size of an orange in the oil pan, but the guys didn’t even feel the hit. So strange.
The oil pan is aluminum, so it will be hard to weld, but our first course of action is to send one of the guys into Port with it tomorrow to see if he can find a welder to patch it up and fix any other cracks. On closer inspection the thing has taken a lot more hits over the years. The spot that broke through yesterday is the lowest hanging point and we think that it’s probably been taking friction etc for a while and finally just weakened so that the hit from the rock last night broke through. If that doesn’t work then the car is out of commission until we can get a new oil pan.
So, this is one of those weeks. Whenever stuff like this seems to all compound into a short time span I always wonder what good things are coming. Doesn’t it always seem to work that way? We would love it if you would be praying specifically for us and the mission this week. Pray that we get our vehicles all fixed and working again. Pray that things go well with removing the dirt for the next two days. Pray for wisdom and good decision making for Chris and I and our staff. Pray that we won’t be distracted, but rather much more focused on what we’re doing and how to do it well. I guess I’m asking for you to help us “be on guard”, yet still stay focused on the things before us.