I use the word “road” advisedly.  Let go of any definition of a road that excludes boulders and streams; include in your definition dirt, donkeys, mud and ruts.  Go back however to why roads were built – to connect to another.  The road to Cumiapa is the only road.  Without it, the people would like for any medical attention, decent supplies, electricity (brought only a few years ago) and any chance of seeing anyone beyond their village.  Let go of your idea of a road and you see an engineering marvel carved out of the side, the very side, of a mountain and curving its way sharply up one hill, down another, then up one more hill.  It takes two hours from Cuana to Cumiapa (forty-five minutes if Fr. Graziano is taking his motorcycle) and you step back even further in time and from what we know than even Cuana.

As we leave Cuana, two options are presented for transportation:  Fr. Graziano’s car or the bus, which is indeed a truck with wooden benches fitted into the slats of the truck.  I chose the car recalling that Fr. Graziano is the best driver in the world.  The young people with Bill and Maggie opted for the truck with Maggie taking the eject seat just In front of the open back end.  The ride was exhilarating enough in the car with heart heightening views of the mountains that surround us and heart-stopping views of the valley hundreds of feet below.  Most of the trip, we were within one yard of plummeting into the valley.  But I was with the best driver in the world.

On the way home, those thought to be older and wiser desired not to miss the adventure of the truck so Joan, Stacey and I joined returnees Bill, Eileen and the always cool Maggie.  Suspicions should have been raised when the teenagers eagerly surrendered their seats to us.  From my seat, middle pew on the driver’s side, I could only see the rush of trees and the expanse of valley each time we turned.  Some twists sent you off your rear as you nearly shifted off your bench.  Some bumps and ruts sent your back flush against the side of the truck.  The first half hour was a rush.  The rest as if someone had fallen asleep at the control of a roller coaster.  One native joined us for the ride and he barely moved as we were flung around like rag dolls.  Despite having a very authentic rural Mexican experience, we were not fooling anyone. But we will always value the road to Cumiapa because it was the only way to meet the people of Cumiapa.