On Monday the Roma team left. On Tuesday Keith and Joan left.  On Wednesday we cleaned, cleaned, cleaned and tried to get five minutes to catch our breath.   Yesterday, Thursday, after finishing the morning working at the school,  I went to St. Marc with security Richard.  We were almost back to the mission site – almost to the bridge across the canal when Germaine called to say “Do not come home. ”  She said there were problems outside the mission on the bridge and in our  area.  We had seen a bunch of people ahead but did not know what and why.

We could see three fires burning on the bridge which were making a lot of black smoke and a bunch of guys  throwing rocks at anyone who got too close.  I parked far enough away from the rock throwing.  We could see a lot of angry yelling people.  I managed to sneak, and I mean sneak, even zoom on a couple of quick photos.  It was starting to get dark and there was a lot of smoke so they are not clear.

Rocks in hands for any vehicle

 

Not going any closer than this. Can’t get to HATS

 

Looks like a gas can

Luckner arrived in his truck, got out and went to talk to those who had taken over the bridge and that area.  He returned and said for Richard to walk me across the bridge and into the compound (they had agreed).  Luckner took my truck and drove down the side of the canal where we seldom walk.  He was able to cross over down there and tried to get the truck to our compound from the other side of the bridge.  Nothing doing.  Lots of big rocks on the road, lots of rock throwing and bullets flying as well.  He ended up driving through fields and was able to get the truck on the mission compound by coming back by the canal road where we usually walk.  He then left to walk back to his own truck.

My kids had been concerned about their Mama sitting on the other side of the bridge and not being able to come home.  They were told I was okay but they wanted their mama home with them.  Such big hugs when I walked in.  Things seemed quiet so I allowed the older ones to go outside with me and see the fires burning on the bridge.  They just barely saw the fires when rocks and bullets started flying and so did we – back into the compound.   The Riot Police arrived from St. Marc around the same time and tear gas was a concern so I put the children in the house.   Things calmed down for awhile when the police arrived, but not for long.

Riot Police are taking the bridge. People hiding and waiting.

 

Riot Police arrived. People have disappeared.

Germaine took a very long way around on foot (no motos could operate)  and made it home after a very long walk in the dark.  She came back to work this morning the same way as there still was trouble on the bridge and the road was dangerous.

A lot of shooting was heard all through the night hours, some so close that it sounded like it was happening inside the compound.  It sounded like this to the children too and so they did not sleep very well.  Plus there was coughing and unable to breath properly due to tear gas.  The house mothers on duty dispensed a half a lemon to all the children for their noses to prevent breathing in the gas.  The police were going from door to door in our area and on the corridor road to hospital looking for those who had blocked the road and caused the trouble.

Very early this morning the police from St. Marc were back sitting on the edge of the bridge – making their presence known again.

Police sitting on the bridge very early morning

This morning our children were up and dressed for school, albeit tired and doubtful there really would be classes at the HATS school today.  There were no classes held today.  Very few of our students made it to the school and we sent those home that did get there.  Luckner decided to use the time for a meeting with our teachers.

Early morning after a very restless night. Will there be school today.

 

School – Yes or No

It appears that as of this afternoon things seem to be somewhat normal again.  Rumours are that some arrests have been made.  Hopefully tonight will be a normal night in the HATS compound and all of us will get a night of sleep.  The children need to sleep tonight as do many others throughout this area.

Blessings everyone.

~Karen