The Hayes Zoo

Our Purpose

- to know God and use our entire lives in service to Him.

- to stand in the gap through prayer, giving and service to viable ministries in Latin America.

- to be transparent helpers of fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, using our resources and skills that through the Holy Spirit, we might encourage and equip those who have less.

- to share a living perspective from Latin America to our churches, friends and family in the states and beyond.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

mile 1566 - Mitla, Oaxaca

First of all, a joke – a guy shows up at a border crossing in a very nice, expensive car, with a few suitcases and a laptop. A couple soldiers with machine guns come over and tell him to get out of the car; one of them points to a circle on the ground and tell him that if he steps out of the circle before they say, they will kill him. The solders then proceed to slash open the seats with knives and pull all the stuffing out. They pull off all the wheels and slash open all the tires, slice up the convertible top and completely rip the dash out. Then they pound in the hood with cinder blocks and jack open the trunk, breaking the lock and completely ripping the trunk lid off the car. They smash the poor guy’s computer to pieces on the pavement, slice open all his suitcases and string his clothes and stuff all over the ground. Then they finally tell the guy, “Ok, you’re free to cross.”

The poor guy gathers up a few of his clothes and his toothbrush and walks through the gate. After he gets a couple hundred yards, he turns around and yells at the solders, “Ha ha, the joke’s on you – I stepped out of the circle three times!!”

Tuesday we had the wonderful experience of being pulled over and harassed by the local police. This is called a ‘mordida’ among those who have experienced it ('bitten', the same word they use for shoving cake in your face at a birthday party), and we had heard from numerous sources that the state of Mexico was the worst down here for this sort of thing. We drove through the entire state, including back and forth through Teluca, and had no problems. Then, after staying a day or two in Tenancingo, there was a stretch along a very ‘back-road’ highway for about a half-hour to the state line, and then on to the highway to Curnavaca. About 5 minutes from the border these guys pulled us over. The original fine he quoted me was close to 8000 pesos ($750 US) for not having the required ‘papers’ for hauling our stuff. No, none of the other states down here require it, but we do. And it’s not just the fine, we’ll need to tow the truck and trailer back to the main office in Teluca, and you and the family will need to pay for a taxi. We'll spend a couple days going through everything in both the truck and trailer to verify that it’s yours, and not stolen. Well, yeah, we can see it would really be a hassle, and we’d love to just let you go on. After a half hour or so he decided that for 5000 pesos he could write us a pass to allow us to go on. Finally, after convincing him that we were basically living from ATM to ATM down here (for fear of being ROBBED BLIND!) and had no more money, he begrudgingly let us go for 900 pesos and 25 dollars that we had in our pockets. About $100. The only smugness I can muster is that we had another 3000 pesos in the back of the truck that I didn’t give him.

This trip has been hard. We knew it would be hard when we started. I think we knew what we were getting into. And yet, Faith and I have both felt a real oppression over us since we left Madera, and certainly since we left Chihuahua City. A certain amount has been the expectation of it all. And it’s not just the police, the military and the common robbers that we might encounter; it’s also the many highways and few signs, the only way through being through the cities. Big cities with narrow streets. Narrow streets and few signs. And no good maps. And the slit-your-wrists traffic. And literally hundreds of topes – speed-bumps. Savage ones. I’ve literally broken shocks clean off on the truck – empty – on topes in Madera that I didn’t see and hit too fast. I’d much rather make this voyage in a Mini-Cooper than a hurking monster-truck with a trailer.

We’re through the major cities now. The metropolitan central part of Mexico is behind us, and with it the ostentatious snobs in their BMW’s who don’t even slow down when coming up behind, but just whip out and pass on the solid line with an arrogant glance. The biggest obstacles still in front of us are the border crossings.

Right now we are in a small town named Mitla, outside Oaxaca City. We are spending a couple days visiting friends here, and staying on the base of Wycliff Bible Translators here. The down-time along the trip has been a huge blessing; this is when we get to meet people and talk, see the sights and rub shoulders and talk with the locals. The real people here. Most of the people are warm, friendly and talkative, once they decide we’re not a threat. The traffic is just a machine, made up of smaller machines that have no feelings and no conscience.

The south of Mexico, I think, has been as much a change for us from the north of Mexico as the north of Mexico was for us from the US. The landscape is enchanting – giant, steaming volcanoes and incredible gorges, cliff-laden mountains with vegetation hanging off the cliffs. Coconuts and bananas and mangoes, oh my! Tropical fruits along with all sorts of different chilies from what we had in the north. Giant butterflies and weird bugs and strange birds that make strange noises. And did we mention that they grow COFFEE down here???

We figure we have another four days of traveling to arrive in Gracias, Honduras. We plan to leave Saturday morning to begin the final stretch. Please remember us in prayer concerning the balance of our trip and crossing the borders. As Paul boasts in 2 Corinthians about his sufferings, so we too expect that what we are putting up with on this trip will be more than worth it when we arrive, and that what we are able to impart to those we go to help, and what we ourselves gain from this whole experience will be such that we will laugh at the memories of all the rest.


jen martinez said...

way to go guys! i will keep praying for border crossings...kiddos...transitos/ all! Go forth in the shadow of His wings! Isn't the south beautiful? Tho, we miss you up here in the north...we send blessings and love to you on your epic journey!

designcenter01 said...

Thanking God for your safety so far.
So sorry to hear about Nermal. Prayers for the kids as they deal with this. Great pictures. Faith you are still so beautiful. Ron says you look tired tho' Hmm Duuu. Prayers from Maine. Laurie

Beth said...

Dear Hayes
Friends of the Sowers here...just letting you know we are praying for your safety and your peace and for this trip to be filled with a sense of God's presence and purpose. And we are asking God for just the right house in Gracias!!
Beth for the Webb family
Mike Beth Austin Jon and Charlie

Missus Wookie said...

Thanks for letting us tag along with you - the south sounds amazing, glad you've had time to look at the view as well as the road.