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Part 3 - Don't Take

Part 3 - Don't Take "No" For An Answer

Hello and good day!

When I left off yesterday, my brother Brian was holding an impromptu team meeting in the jungle.

Hot jungle rain was pouring down.

The 7-person team was standing on a wet and soft, tan colored, dirt road next to a 6 deep line of white station wagon taxis.

The station wagon hatchbacks were filled with television cameras and audio gear.

Anthony Bourdain was in the back seat of the last taxi in line.

The caravan was on its way to the farm of Don Fortunato to film a segment for Bourdain's hit TV show, Parts Unknown.

When the unplanned team meeting adjourned, Brian sent 6 of the team members out into the countryside to ask farmers if they could borrow shovels.

The seventh team member took off walking towards a friend's house to borrow a motorcycle so that he could ride into town and try to bribe the local government into lending a tractor.

Brian had given the seventh team member, Oscar Ayala, a fistful of money with which to influence whoever had the keys to an available tractor.

Up the road from where the taxis were parked, a group of men was standing around in the rain, looking at a tractor that was sunk deeply into a soupy mud pit.

The tractor was blocking through traffic on the road.

These men had parked their own vehicles off to the side of where they were standing, and they were waiting for the local government to send workers to tow away the sunken tractor.

Brian walked through the rain and approached the men.

"Since you're just standing around here waiting, do you guys want to make some money?" asked Brian.

"What do you mean by that?" asked one of the men.

"My team is bringing shovels. We are going to start digging out the tractor," said Brian.

"For what reason? We can dig all we want. Somebody still has to tow the tractor away," said the man from the group.

"Another tractor will be here soon. Believe me. But this tractor will tip over when it is towed if we don't dig a path first," said Brian.

"How much will you pay?" asked the man.

"A full day's wage," said Brian.

The men chatted amongst themselves and began to nod.

The spokesman gave the answer.

"Ok. We'll do it," he said.

Brian walked back to the parked taxis to give the group an update.

He stuck his head into the taxi that had Anthony Bourdain sitting in the back seat.

"We'll be getting out of here soon," said Brian.

"We're in your hands," said Bourdain.

Soon, our team members came trudging back through the wet countryside with armfuls of shovels.

Brian handed out shovels to the waiting men, and to our team members, and he took one of the shovels for himself as well.

"If a government tractor comes, it will come on the road to the left of here. That road circles around and connects to the top of the hill. We'll dig out the tractor's tracks first and then we'll dig a path in front of the tractor, leading upwards, towards the hill," said Brian.

Everybody nodded.

Each man took his place, set his feet in the mud, and began shoveling.

The group heaved load after load of wet mud from the road, tossing each shovelful behind them, off into the bushes and trees.

The rain continued hard and thick.

As the men warmed up their muscles, they worked faster and faster, feverishly scooping and tossing shovel after shovel.

After thirty minutes of watching, one of the fellows from the camera crew left his spot inside a taxi and got out to search the station wagons for a handheld video camera and lapel microphone.

When he found what he was looking for, the camera man approached Brian and asked Brian if he could mic him up and film the shoveling.

Brian agreed and the camera man stood in the rain recording.

Unfortunately, that footage didn't make it into the episode.

The video is probably still sitting on a computer in a CNN office somewhere.

Another 45 minutes of shoveling in the unrelenting rain had passed when a loud airhorn blew from on top of the hill.

Yellow headlights shot through falling raindrops. Everybody stopped shoveling and looked up.

It was Oscar! "Come up here Brian!" shouted Oscar.

Brian ran up the hill, his feet squishing in the mud.

Oscar gave Brian a thick spool of rope to carry down and he and Oscar went back down the hill in the rain to tie rope around the frame of the stuck tractor.

The men had made great progress digging out a path that ran up hill along which the tractor could be pulled.

When the rope was securely fastened to both the stuck tractor and the tractor up on the hill, Oscar stuck his fingers in his mouth and screeched off a loud whistle.

The driver on top of the hill flashed a thumbs up and punched his motor.

Up on the high road, the mud was covered with rocky gravel, and everybody could hear the sound of heavy tracks crunching over hard pebbles when the tractor began to pull.

The stuck tractor glided out of the rut and slid smoothly up the soft dirt road.

After ten minutes of pulling, the tractor had been towed off to the side of the road up on top of the hill.

The rain was still coming down very hard.

Brian called out.

"Everybody bring rocks from the fields! We have to fill this pit so that we can cross!"

The men ran out into the countryside and began to haul rocks over.

One rock at a time, they filled the soft mud pit and pounded the rocks level with their shovels.

After thirty minutes, the pit was full and flat.

Brian yelled for his team to get back into the taxis so that the caravan could roll.

Brian was wet and muddy and sweaty when he climbed back into the shotgun seat of the front taxi.

His eyes were bloodshot red. He was wired from adrenaline and still had energy.

He turned to the taxi driver. "What are you waiting for? Let's roll!"

There were camera crew members sitting in the back seat of the front car, staring in stunned silence with their mouths hanging open.

Brian turned to look at them.

"Are you guys alright? What's up?" he asked.

They shook their heads and then one of them spoke up.

"That was the most awesome thing we've ever seen," said the crew member.

Brian was fired up and feeling cocky, deservedly so.

"That's how you do it. Never just take no for an answer."

That's my bro.

The caravan drove over the rocks and up the hill and made it to Fortunato's farm with plenty of daylight left.

Anthony Bourdain was able to film the segment on Fortunato's farm according to schedule.

The next day, they filmed another segment on another farm without incident. The second day went smoothly.

When Parts Unknown aired, it gave our company a huge boost which allowed us to bring more cacao farm families into the project.

None of it would have happened if my brother wasn't such a stud.

And I've learned a very fundamental lesson from watching him conquer so many challenging situations.

You don't always have to take no for an answer.

Sometimes it pays to fight hard against a no.

Thank you so much for time today.

I hope that you have a truly blessed day!


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