Monday, December 21, 2009

M'ap Toune! [I'm Back]

If I were to ever need of an intentional, experiancial refreser in the beautiful lesson that Brek and the Chain Ring of Fools first taught me in 2002 - "It's the journey, not the destination" - all I have to do is return to Haiti! As I wrote to a few people this morning in during the small period of internet time:
> Late leaving plane, lost and found luggage, pot hole induced flat tire,
> sleepy smiles and laughter from glorious children, roosters and honking
> horns filling the star bright night - so good to be back!

The day started with the usual cacophony of yelling children, barking dogs and market chatter (I love Monday mornings here!]. It was pitch black when I arrived last night and I could remember where I'd packed my flash light so I used the pre-breakfast time to unpack the bags that I'd had to hurriedly repack and cram at the airport. FYI - despite what the AA website says, you can't take bins to Haiti during the Christmas holidays.

After my toothbrush and teeth had had a joy-filled reunion, I headed down to play with the timoun yo [kids] before breakfast. I'd snuck into their rooms last night when I'd arrived and had been covered with sleepy kisses, but I was craving full on play! Flying with Delmas, walking with Josephine, dancing with Sammy, making fun of Lazar with Ted (aka Teddy - he wants to use his adult name now)...laboui cooking in the kitchen...all is well in the world.

Thoughout the day, I played the djembe rhythms that I've learned over the last couple of months from the beautiful drumming community in Atlanta. Delmas, Steve and Franke Le were quick to pick up the beats and bang them on any found object in range. It was good for me to to miss my new friends and the connections I'm now making in Atlanta. So often I've head off on my adventures, floating free of any desire to return. The heart tugs I feel to home on this trip are new for me, and I'm glad for them.

Once breakfast was gobbled and prayers sung, I headed back up to help Renee bind a billion folders for the various homes and schools in the St. Joe's family. My assistant was Jozye - a new child here. As if this place wasn't already filled to the brim with amazing children, they've managed to find one more. He is brilliant - both in smile wattage (seen to the left, beaming in his blue hoody) and in intelligence. We had each other in stitches for most of the morning.

There is one bright smile that I keep looking for, a lovely soul who is now living with his family rather than at Wings - Dad, Delmas's right hand man, the "double" in his trouble. His little purple chair is now filled by another new child, Lew. I haven't connected with Lew yet, maybe because all I can do when I see the chair is miss Dad.

I'm also torn a bit in being here - my heart lines to Adrian are tugging. I read YoA's blog in the Miami airport and it sounds like his ALS is progressing much more rapidly than anyone who loves him could possible want. I'm sitting here with tears rolling down my eyes, hoping I can get back to NC at least one more time to tell him in person again how both his life and his transition out of it have made a huge impact on who I am and how I live my life. I love you YoA and continuously send blessings to you, Padmini, and the rest of your family!

And the journey continues...

I got to be apart of the annual Christmas Tree decoration party before lunch and the joy therein. [I finally found my last piece of luggage last night under a real pine tree that someone had shipped on the plane. Between that and the giant snow flake lights that lined the street from the airport to downtown - in a place that has never seen snow - I never have to doubt the influence of US culture on this little island!] The kids were each given an ornament and assisted in placing it on the tree. Their faces beamed and their bodies swayed to Christmas music. It's so much easier for me to connect to the spirit of this holiday when I'm in another country and surrounded by children. Ahhhhh.

The funniest thing that happened to me today was during lunch. I was feeding Ted, picking out the onions and peppers for him, saving the hot dog bits for last, and busily, happily catering to his every whim - I have missed him sooooooo much - when Nelio made an attack from my flank, grabbed a handful of food from Ted's plate and stuffed it into his mouth. Ted hardly had time to scream before Nelio was busily spitting it out with gusto! Nellio had grabbed the handful that contained two huge hot peppers. Ted and I roared at him while he vigorously rubbed his tongue and shook his head. How I love natural consequences! (The picture is of Delmas feeding Wilner at lunch. The spirit of community can be palpable here :-)

Tomorrow will bring the Christmas pageant and so much more! Pictures below are from the dress rehearsal - Lazar and David as shepards, Josephine as an Angel and Delmas as a sheep - not half baaaaaaad :-)

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