by Brian Jensen
Since I have been involved in the 100 Wells in the Northeast Department project, I was invited to the first inaugurations in September. We were inaugurating 7 wells during this ceremony. As an added adventure, we decided to take a road that we hadn’t gone on yet. To make sure we could pass, we took the 4 wheelers. A truck would have been too expensive and probably wouldn’t be able to get through. The road went from Pignon through Carice, and then to Capotille. We did some checking to ensure that the 4 wheelers were in working order. They each had some small problems. Neil’s kept getting stuck in certain gears and mine didn’t have good breaks. The breaks were decent when we started but as we got going, I lost much of their functionality.
So we were off. We picked up gas at Mano’s in town then took the road east to Fonten, La Viktwa, Mombin Crochu, Bwa d’ Lawrance, Carice, Mont Organize, Capotille. Each of these were small villages, a portion of the size of Pignon. Some had paved roads in their town centers and a small approach to the town. We crossed some streams, skidded down rocky slopes, and around blind corners. Neil has a lot more experience than I have on 4 wheelers, so he would go on ahead and just wait for me at the turns, of which there were only 4 or 5. When we passed Mombin Crochu, the farthest point I had traveled, the road got mean. Every turn was followed by a steep descent. Every road was gutted by deep runoff channels. It was good fortune that we did not go after a rain, because that would have made some portions of the road much worse. After about an hour of this mean road, we arrived in Carice. It was a beautiful place, clean, fairly well developed, with a great mountaintop view. Then we gunned it on the relatively nice road to Mont Organize. We hit a paved road. Neil said that he had drilled in Mont Organize before and that the road was previously nigh on impassable. One time, people hadn’t been able to pass by truck for months until Neil’s father-in-law arrived with his truck and pulled a giant bolder out of the road. Everyone was cheering because they could open up more commerce to Mont Organize again. Now, it was a paved mountain descent full of switchbacks. It looked like something out of a performance car commercial.
When we arrived at the bottom of the hill, we were in Capotille. I had a general idea of where we were going from my work with the maps in the region. So we stopped at a few corners, asking people if we were going in the direction of Kafou Kana. I think we missed a turn because we ended up taking the long way around. We passed through a goat path on a savanna-like area. Finally we found a gathering of people and Haiti Outreach Motorcycles. We had arrived. The ceremony had just started, so we grabbed a seat. I tried to sit in the crowd, but as usual, that wasn’t acceptable so they put me up at the front in a seat of honor with Neil, Roge, and the local authorities. I hate being singled out and put in a designated place, even if it is courtesy. I reluctantly obliged and we got started. The ceremony was quite different as there were 7 communities instead of one. The usual celebration for even one community is considerable, 7 was utterly too much (for me). Three hours later we were done and immediately back on the road. 3 hours after that I was enjoying a beer in Pignon with a sore and swollen body. A good day.