Monday, May 13, 2013

Faces of Haiti: "Mayor of the Mountain"

One of the people constantly with our team in Haiti was Mr. P. Despite the fact that there are no police, government, or infrastructure of any kind on La Montagne, he is known as the “Mayor of the Mountain.” Mr. P is in his 70’s, with a small and wiry build. Originally from the Dominican Republic, he speaks fluent Spanish as well as Haitian Creole.

You would never know how old he was based on his agility! Mr. P can still climb coconut trees, butcher pigs, and beat teenage girls (*ahem, me*) in foot races up mountains with the best of them. He amazed our whole team! And he is truly “the boss” of the mountain!

On our way down the mountain at the end of the week, we had a little issue. You see, 2 truck drivers had been hired to take our team of 17 down the mountain. We also hired 1 tap-tap for our luggage. Only one truck driver and the tap-tap showed up (an hour late.) We were all packed and ready to leave, so the half of the team that was supposed to ride in the 2nd truck piled into the tap-tap with the luggage.

We hadn’t driven 5 minutes down the mountain when the other truck driver shows up. He stops the vehicle so that those of us in the tap-tap can get out and ride in his vehicle. But we had already settled in and the missionary tried to explain we no longer needed him because he was so late. The driver got angry, so he pulled his truck in front of our tap-tap and wouldn’t move.

The driver of the tap-tap and the missionary argued with the truck driver for a good 10 minutes as a crowd of Haitians began to gather. Mr. P was hitching a ride into Jacmel with us and was sitting in the back of the tap-tap with us. We could tell he was starting to get antsy. Finally, he got out and went to talk with the truck driver. Two minutes later, we were back on the road. J He holds a lot of influence on La Montagne, which is why he is affectionately given the title “Mayor of the Mountain.”

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