Thursday, April 5, 2012

Tap-Tap Garage

So due to Easter, the FEJ staff is getting two days off this week. That would mean the office is technically closed today and tomorrow. I was very excited for this news, because Tzu Chi volunteers have returned back to Haiti earlier this week, and these days off means that I will actually get to leave the orphanage to go see them. I get to go hang out at OECC and go visit all the areas in Haiti that Tzu Chi is actively helping. It is always a nice change of scenery when I get to hang out with Tzu Chi, not to mention the hot showers, comfortable beds, good food, and good company. So this morning I still worked, because I needed to get all the March reports done to send out to the different adoption agencies we work with. At the moment, we are actively working with Canada, United States, and France. By around 5pm, I heard a tap-tap come into the orphanage compound, it was Lesley, our local Haitian Tzu Chi Volunteer Coordinator. I was so excited. I quickly grabbed my bags and said goodbye to the staff and children. I was also excited to be in a tap-tap again. This tap-tap was all white, like all the UN cars, so it was actually quite funny. So we all jumped in and took off for OECC.

The majority of the roads in Haiti are in pretty bad shape and the road to the Lamardelle creche is not any better. There are pot holes and uneven surfaces everywhere. It is a road that is even difficult for 4 x 4s to go on. So, like usual, we rocked and bumped out of the creche and then just before we got to the opening to the National Highway, the driver says "Oh no, the breaks are not working!" Hahahah, what?? the breaks aren't working? I literally just laughed my head off, because this is exactly what would happen at this precise moment. Luckily, we were going quite slow due to bad road conditions and the car slowly stopped by all the big rocks on the road. And even more unbelievable was that when we came to a complete stop, we were right in front of a make-shift Tap-tap repairing garage!!! What are the chances of that happening???? So the people were very friendly and helped us guide the tap-tap into the working area and so many people came to work on the car. We got out and started to watch magic unfold. They first used a metal pump to life the car up and then took off the front right tire. Then the guy popped the hood and then went and looked under for the break fluid tube. He found the tub and took it off. The problem was that half of the break fluid tube was rubber and the other half metal. The rubber part had holes in it and the break fluids were leaking from it and not getting to the tires. So magically, the people started to search in their garage for another break fluid tube. After about 15 minutes of looking and searching, someone came back with a fully metal tube. It was awesome. They started to install it and testing for it to work.

I learned today that you have to have someone at the wheel pushing and bumping the break petal, while someone is at the tube area to let out the break fluids when the break is held. This is to test if there are air bubbles or blockage in the tube. They have to make sure the tube is completely clear and the break fluids is getting to the tires successfully. They did this several times with both front tires. After about 30 minutes or so, we started to test the car's breaks. These people were perfectionist too, they wanted to make sure everything was functioning perfectly. They drove the tap-tap back and forth and went down and up the small hills outside. I felt like I was in a make-shift racing car, because the people were speeding up super fast and then stopping abruptedly to test the breaks. After about an hour or so, everything was great and we were ready to be on the road again. They people were so nice and they didn't charge us a huge fee, it was actually half the price of a normal car garage. They also filled up our break fluid tank for the road home. The people knew where I worked since they were of the same zone and had huge smiles on their faces. I am so grateful for awesome people like them, completing the full circle of giving and great love. We were all strangers, but we all worked together for the common good. We said goodbye to them and was on our way to OECC.

What an awesome adventure that was??? I learned so much about cars today! AWESOME!

1 comment:

  1. good things return to good people, the circle of love!