Monday, January 19, 2009

Bon Joune, Ayiti! Good Journey, Haiti!

WOAH, mon amis!!!! Back from 'Ayiti' and trying to catch back up to what Haitians call "la ler blan," or 'White Time'. They call it that because of the pace.

And, BOY, I am feeling that. I feel my pulse pick back up speed as I juggle about 95 e-mails, 20 phones calls, ump-teen texts and updates from every corner of the internet universe, and try to plan my weeks as I try to fit every plan and dream into our only limited resource; time.

We arrived in Lakeland at 2 a.m., but I still could not sleep in. It was the thought of that stinking rooster crowing in my window at 4 a.m. or the mouse I showered with nibbling my toe that kept waking me up. More on that another time. Let's get to the nitty-gritty.

FITNESS: Does hiking hill after hill after our truck's brakes gave out count?? Oui!

NUTRITION: Goat, chicken, sugar cane, rice...rice...rice...and plantains!! P.S. Elna's coffee is better, thicker and sweeter than ANY Cuban coffee I have EVER had.

STUDY: I recorded interviews with local leaders to discover what they needed, what they thought the REAL problems with Haiti were, as well as read through a lot more of "Mountains Beyond Mountains," the novel about Haiti that I am reading.

PLAN: trying to put my finger on "where to start" with Haiti. WHERE DOES ONE START? My mind races with one idea, plays that idea out to a dead end like a 'Choose Your Own Adventure' novel until I am either satisfied or not satisfied with the conclusion. Then, I jump back a few pages and do the same thing with a different idea, solution, or answer to their myriad of problems.

ACTION: Restabilize. What was 3 days to you seemed like 3 months to me. I feel like I have been lost in the Amazon, losing my identity as I pick up Creole and say 'sak pase' instead of 'whats up', feeling stunned when they stare and say 'blan, blan', and mired in their world of diesel congestion and wide open pessimism about their future. I swung from being totally excited to totally depressed to totally appalled to totally hopeful to totally indignant to just relieved to be home.

I walk away knowing...nothing much more about the solution. I know very much more the discomfort of the problem, thought the problem itself is as elusive as hope. I know that so many people have already begun a thing in Haiti, leaving only ruins and dilapidated dreams.

The most common English phrase is "see how poor we are". How can anything we do change that? Only with a long-term, commitment of absolution to make change will bring it. The same level of belief that under girded our founding fathers imbued in key Haitian leadership would do it. A vision that they are pilgrims, starting from scratch, whose mission is the manifest destiny that America was, and creating a complete, civil society from woods and a harsh land.

From all of that, surprisingly, I devise that I must first create my own financial stability here. I must push harder in my own life. The relationships around me need me as much as my Haitian freres. My family and friends have had so much more added value in my heart having visited such a materially depraved land.

Second, I do know that a clear vision on how we can all partner, and spend a life helping, helping all people wasting away hopelessly is necessary. Bon Deau, I need the vision, wisdom, and strength to be able to do that!

Mesi, and bon soi. Thank you, and have a great day!

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