Ke Kontan

Ke Kontan

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Coming Home

The fact that my last blog was posted a few months ago doesn’t exactly mean my days have been passing in complete boredom and with little inspiration. Actually, since the end of October, my life has been moving at warp speed and I haven’t had the time to sit down and throw my experiences into a blog summary. When I first landed in Haiti, every single passing moment was vigorously written down in an attempt to absorb my out of control thoughts. I wanted a permanent documentation of the obscure smells and clamorous sounds, the unusual tastes and vibrant sights and those moments that absolutely captured my heart.  And I wanted to share my experiences with you through engaging and graphic compositions.

However my view on this entire process has been slowly changing. I have turned a corner, and I’m slowly beginning to lose my identity as an outsider looking in. The day-to-day escapades that once blew my mind and made me fall asleep each night in a rush of exhaustion are now quite commonplace. Haitian mishaps used to inspire hours of writing with simultaneous giggling at the chaos of my life and its stories that simply couldn’t be made up. Those mishaps are still a dime a dozen, and believe me, I still shake my head at my situation a lot, but I no longer feel the urge to splatter it onto a blog post right away. Couple that with recent travel, reunions, falling in love, work, school and, well, my slight need to procrastinate every now and then took over.

Now, what happened next in the chronological order of the past few months was perhaps one of the most glorious experiences of my life. At the end of October, I stepped onto a plane and left Haiti, however, I knew I would be back soon.  When I returned home I ended up landing a job at Choices Child and Adolescent Center which is a home for young male sex offenders.  Many questioned why I would choose this job and why I was so passionate about it, and at times I questioned that myself, but I quickly learned that these boys are humans too- that we all have stories and backgrounds- and unfortunately their's weren't merely fairy-tales.  I got to know these boys.  I got the privilege to spend time with each one of them and do day to day tasks.  We laughed and danced, played basketball, did laundry, cooked dinner, and ate together like a family.  Most of these boys grew up in difficult situations and were taught behaviors that were inappropriate, where others had mental illnesses.  I loved working with these boys.  They taught me so much and made me laugh.  It was a hard decision leaving a job that I absolutely loved, however, my kids always come first and the longing for them and the ache of missing them has not been subsiding.. I knew it was time to return home.  Although I will miss my family and friends terribly.. I know it's what I have to do.  My emotions feel wobbly even as I write this, for just recalling the insurmountable joy of being surrounded by the people whom I’ve been missing so much over these past few months.  I am beyond excited to be reunited with all of them.  

The kids are non-stop growing.  I can’t believe how much taller they have gotten.  They are all still just as amazing as they have always been.  Jenny is now 16 and absolutely loving dance class.  Don fell and busted up his arm the other day.  Tyson is a walking, talking, trouble machine.  The twins (who were not supposed to live and I was advised not to take them into my home since they would die) are now almost 4 years old and just full of personality and spunk- they are quite the pair.  Emilio is massive, he has become such a beautiful little boy.  Shellson has gained weight and is the happiest child out there.  Lunda still likes to play “mommy” and she is quite the comedian.  Lillian is continuously growing as well (so is her hair finally) and loves to sing and dance.  Sabrina, well she’s no longer pooping on the floor and smearing it on our walls- so that’s always good! Sabrina is quiet but so intelligent.  She is picking up on English no problem! Norens is still excelling in school and making music out of whatever he can find.  Wendel- wow! I’ve noticed the biggest changes in him.  Wendel arrived at our door wearing nothing on his back or on his feet.  He was severely abused and neglected.  He remained quite and often cried after he joined our home.  Today, he is our little (not so little) jokester and so loving and affectionate.  He is a great big brother to all our little ones.  He passed his first year of school this year and he has grown so tall.  I am beyond proud of that boy.  Don, he’s still as crazy as ever.  He loves pretending he’s a ninja and pulling tricks on me.  He recently tripped playing soccer and busted up his arm, but he’s one tough boy.  Wilgo.  Wilgo is stubborn like most men at times; however, he is the most kind-hearted boy and is a great role model for our little ones.  Tyson calls him Dad and those two are just inseparable.  We also have a new little baby named “Dwanesky” I cannot wait to hold him and smother him with kisses. 

I have had a lot of different responses when I tell people that I am moving back to Haiti. Most can't quite understand it or wrap their heads around why I would want to "settle down" there. The things we see and deal with on a daily basis while living in one of the poorest regions of the poorest country of the Western Hemisphere, are extremely difficult and even heart wrenching and tragic. There are many moments when the reality of the harshness of life here smacks me upside the head like a ton of bricks and all I can do is cry. But more often than not, there are so many moments when I have the incredible privilege of witnessing pure triumphs. Triumphs over the plague of malnutrition. Triumphs of reuniting a child with their parent.  Triumph of teaching someone who is illiterate to read and write. Triumph over the spirit of despair and desolation. Triumph in witnessing an individual gain a sense of self and take ownership in his/her trade or craft. Triumph in seeing pure strength, bravery, and survival. There are brutal realities that come with living in Haiti. Yet, despite how difficult these issues may be to face, they are the truth and we must see them, we mustn't close our eyes . And sometimes - through the pain and the struggles, the most incredible beauty shines forth. This is my reality, this is my destiny, this if my life.

Recent blog post from my friend Rhyan that hits home for me: 
"People tell me they could never… They could never move to Haiti. They could never live without water or electricity or ice blended lattes… The thing about people saying those things is that it implies that the life I am living is a choice. It’s not. Once your purpose grabs ahold of your heart, the idea of choice kind of flies out the window. I have no choice over living in Haiti because I was created to be alive when I am here, I was created to be alive in the place where my purpose lies. Yes, I could probably try to run away from the things that God asks me to do that are hard but I wouldn’t get far and I wouldn’t last long. I’ve tasted the sweetness that mixes with the tears that stream down my cheeks as I hold the slowly cooling body of a child that I loved… I’ve tasted the sweetness mingled with the sweat of trying to fall asleep in the stifling heat, under a mosquito net. I’ve tasted the sweetness of living fully in His passion and His calling. I’ve tasted the sweetness that comes with the hard and painful and it’s something that I would never know or crave if I didn’t experience the raw, realness of disappointment, passion and sacrifice."

Leading up to this sentimental reunion, I spent the morning gliding through the Miami airport on a high… tiled floors, clean bathrooms with toilet seats AND toilet paper, air conditioning- things I realize that I am going to likely miss soon enough.  I never thought standing in the tedious line of customs could bring me such happiness! And now, as I sit here to type up this fashionably late blog, my suitcases are next to me packed up full of my life’s finest belongings...once again. Bring on the sleepless nights, dirty diapers, the "I love you more mama" at bed time... I am missing it all.  Today I will fly out to Haiti for my official move.  I know, what a strange life I am living…but life is all about adventure is it not? 
So that about wraps it up for now!  Thank you for all of your ongoing love and support and for following me on this journey.  Until next time!

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