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The story of Bella the truck. Good by to Frankeinstien

Anyone who has come to visit us at one point or another has had an encounter with our van, Frankeinstien. This innocent looking van has been one of our most famous nightmares for well over a year. In the states this little van would have been the worlds best soccer mom van, but here in Haiti, its no match for our crazy roads. We have spent countless hours stranded due to number of issues that range from busted tires, stuck in deep mud, broken alternators, lots of bad barrings, several batteries mysteriously dying, doors jamming and not allowing us in, and mystery starter problems....the list goes on. I have spent even more hours traveling back and forth to the capital, Port au Prince, (3 hours each way), by bus in search of car parts to keep the van alive. Every morning when the kids and I would get in the van, we would pray that it would start, without giving us problems. We lived in a constant state of fear and frustration, fearing we would be standed again somewhere remote area. A few times it gave us some good scares forcing us to borrow cars to pick Martin up from school with his wheelchair or calling friends to fetch us from the side of the road some where in town.

Broken again. Our friend tries really hard to get us back on the road.

In March I was speaking with my dear friends the Schmitt's and Kay Angels biggest supports about the struggles of having a difficult car. A few minutes in to the conversation the most amazing words were spoken by my friend Sue "the kids need a safe car so lets get one....." At first I thought it was a joke but Sue rarely jokes about serious things. She and her family had just offered us one of the most precious and best gifts.

For 2 months my best friend and I searched the whole south east of Haiti for the perfect car for the kids. We would play good cop bad cop as we stuck our fingers in exhaust pipes and strange oils, smelled car fluids, revved engines and some times just stare under the hood as if we knew what we were looking for. We would test drive the trucks and then look at each other repeating things like "nope this one is no good for the price, do we look like dummies to you??" "HAHA!! you are a funny guy, cars no good we saw a better one..." "hmmmm... no good, how about we offer you..." It was so much fun. Finally on a truck mission in Port au prince we found her. A silver 4x4, 5 speed (i don't drive stick), diesel truck with a sticker on the back sporting one of our favorite creole words (to hard to translate). It was meant to be. Now all we needed to do was teach me to drive stick, file a mountain of paper work, jump through 2357 hoops, and convincing the guy to sell it to us due to beautiful similes instead of the guy he was about to sell it too. Thank god he had a sense of humour and we shook on the deal.

Meet Bella. She is soooooooooo Cute!!! look at the killer nose

It took a few days for me to get used to driving stick and Youseline sat right behind me in the truck as my coach and driving support. Once we got it down there was no stopping us in our super cool truck. The kids were so happy with it, they would frequently turn to me on our way to school and say things like " yep....our truck is the most beautiful in town...." If i would ask if they love our new truck they would all simultaneously scream "YESSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!"

We were getting so much done in the truck!! We no longer have to struggle to take Martin to school with his wheelchair. We don't break down on the way to the market or hospital. We are able to fill up all our drinking water buckets with out spilling the water everywhere. Beach trips are more fun because we all pile in even the dogs. We can go to Haitian "home depot" and pick up supplies like wood, paint buckets, wood and did i mention wood with no issues. We can go to Port au Prince for Estania's cardiologist appointments with out any safety concerns (we used to walk a lot in port au prince, not fun with kids). And then there is our theme song! Every time we jump in the first song we play is the Bella song which the kids have decided is the name of the truck as well. Here is the song if you would like to start the same tradition.

Thank you so much Schmitt family we are so very grateful for all the kindness you have shown us over the years!

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