Mon St. Michel

Here are pictures of the hiking we did yesterday, led by our friend and Sophie’s first Kabik housemate David Rampy. We made four as another friend Laurent Sassine joined us, and went out on our first real trek. It was pretty amazing to have two guys who live in this area take us into the mountains, and even though Laurent is not necessarily a mountain man (he is a phenomenal Sushi Chef), his fondness of the countryside was clear. At 6am David guided us toward a place called St. Michel, which, as the story goes he discovered while attempting to hike up as far as he could past Plateau Tessere. Along the rocky paths we saw nuances of Haitian life in the mountains, being passed by women carrying 3-gallon jugs of water and seeing the source of our water for the first time. Two hours each way made for a serious workout, yet the people for whom this walk is daily stepped effortlessly up casually talking, while we sucked wind. Mules and cows were driven past us in both directions and we took a long stop at the summit to look at the church of St. Michel, the landscape, and to eat grapefruit straight off the branch. David led us to St. Michel with confidence and purpose, as though every change of course was entirely unexpected yet somehow carefully planned as well. Even during the descent when we started going back up, there was no questioning what the point was as momentarily a house appeared and we were drinking coconuts a minute later.

The view, the feel, the people, the smells of the top struck us all with such electrifying awe that each in our own way we voiced wishes to remain, and in David’s case to continue on through the next few mountains that were incredibly higher still than our own. The most fascinating aspect turned out not to be the unforgettable visual of the land, but actually being shown how and where to walk by people who love and embody a place and way of life so entirely that our memories of getting to know Kabik and Upper Tessere will inextricably be linked to their affection for it.

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