As I sit hear strumming my guitar I am accompanied by the echo of a church choir in the distance and Emilio singing to his own tune from his little crib. Tyson is jumping on my bed behind me trying to make a moustache on my face with my hair and laughing hysterically. Shellson and Norens are playing on their new bikes and racing each other around my room. The twins are holding hands and dancing to the music. I can't help but smile as I watch them go about their business. It's these little moments that bring my heart so much joy. It's these little moments that make all of the frustrations and heartache of Haiti worthwhile. It is these little moments that make saying goodbye (once again) so damn hard.
Tomorrow morning I will have to board yet another plane. I will have to convince my feet to take that first step into the terminal and convince my body to remain seated as they shut the airplane door. I keep telling myself "Emily you have to do it!!! Only few more months of school and you will be back in Haiti for good" .. but even that doesn't ease the hurt of knowing that for the next few months, I will have to miss out on these little moments. As I board the plane tomorrow my future will remain waiting for me in Haiti, and I cannot wait for the new year to begin. The anxieties of the past have left my mind, and the worries of what’s to come are nonexistent. This is home.
This week I bought my first car in Haiti (I know, scary thought). And it is the best investment I have ever made. It's like a huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. No more relying on anyone else, no more arguing with drivers and negotiating for pay, no more feeling "stuck".. this is FREEDOM !!!! Today as I was driving the kids to my friend Jason's house where we go swimming, I thought to myself... two years ago I could have never imagined I'd be here. I could never imagined us living in a beautiful home, driving around in my OWN car, and taking my babies to the pool. I have never felt more proud and more like a family (especially having the "talk" with my boys today.. help me Lord). We are beginning to become less dysfunctional as each day passes (well.. kind of). Spending this week with my kids there is no doubt in my mind that things will only continue to improve for us. From living in a small house with no furniture, running water, electricity, fridge, stove, working toilet, etc to where we are now .. it is really incredible and I am so grateful for each and every person who has assisted us a long the way. Every time I think of how far we've come tears form in the corners of my eyes. No one will ever understand how truly blessed I feel for the amazing people in my life who believed in me and continue to believe in me today. You have given me the greatest gift I could ever ask for.
Patience and appreciation are two of the greatest lessons I have learned since arriving to Haiti. People wonder how I deal with it, how I cope, and for awhile I struggled with dealing with the stressors and chaos and many times I came the point of nearly being completely burnt out. But I realized that the only way to survive here is to ease your mind. Let go of the stressors and just believe that everything will work out exactly how it is supposed to. Anger and frustration only creates negative feelings and tension and negative feelings only bring about negative actions and events. I have realized that to fully be engrossed in the lifestyle of my existence and the only way to find satisfaction and inner peace is by embracing the here and now. I need to smell the sugar cane and appreciate the rawness of its flavor instead of dreaming about the delicious things it will become. Haitians practice this way of life better than any North American I know, and maybe that’s why they aren’t bothered by apprehension about their next steps. North Americans may have a longer life expectancy, but is a long life worth anything at all when we are living most of it in some hypothetical future?
The past is now behind me, and old baggage has long been tossed out. My book is starting over with chapter one. These past few years have been filled with emotional endings and exciting beginnings that I will take with me into the next phase of my life. Where I stand now is astronomically different from 2010 when I boarded that plane to Ghana and envisioned myself as a volunteer working in orphanages and medical clinics on my spare time. I have now fallen off motorcycles, and cared for dying babies; been peed on by naked children and harassed by strangers. I climbed a mountain and swam behind countless waterfalls. I have made an entirely new family in a bizarre world, and best of all I have found love. I have become a mother. That point may be the most twisted of all, as these things tend to come out of nowhere and under completely blindsided circumstances. But the happiness I feel in this moment might just exceed the happiness I felt when Santa brought me my pink Barbie house as a three year old.
So tomorrow when I am forced to say goodbye to my babies, I will embrace the sadness with a feeling of happiness knowing that I will soon be back for good. It will be another ending of my strange beginning. Time is moving on, my little ones are growing, and good things are happening. That tranquility I've talked about in the past will still be flowing through my veins, and the thought of my return will continue to give me satisfaction. New struggles will begin, new children will arrive, new moments of joy and moments of tears will pass, and I will fully embrace every moment of every day.
Peace and Love from Haiti.
UPDATE: Nassa came to me when she was 11 months old weighing only 7lbs. Today she is smiling and finally able to sit up and use her legs. She has made an incredible recovery and is continuing to stay strong throughout treatments. She's my little fighter. Unfortunately, her mother isn't doing so well. I spent the afternoon sitting with her as she lay on a cold concrete floor covered in flies. It breaks my heart to say that her chance of survival is severely slim and the next few weeks are crucial. She cannot stand and she can barely talk. She has become very weak. I will be transporting her to hospital tomorrow and keeping the faith that she will fight as hard as Nassa and do a complete turn around as well. Thank you to all of those who have sent money for her family. Today we were able to provide them with a months worth of food,clothes, vitamins, toys, and medicine. I couldn't do it without all of you. Starting tomorrow we will also be accumulating more medical bills with her mother, if anyone wishes to contribute to these fees please contact me via Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org