Sunday, September 25, 2011

Haitian Diary, Day 3: Static On Radio Heaven.

All at once light corrupted every shadow. Everything hidden was laid bare; canon-fire and the sky ripping and heaven falling. And then a shell-shocked silence until it felt as if the world was waking from the long high fever of a dream. I slept maybe an hour. It stormed most of the night.

4:30 a.m. Crank the generator. Boil water. Starbucks VIA and a granola bar, read through most of the minor prophets and then walk to Corinna Beach. There are fisherman setting out, and I am sitting on a large chunk of coral on the friggin' Caribbean sea! No cell phone, no internet, no incessant glut of wonder I can think in the third world. I love Gressier more by the moment.

Back at the house Kyle is the next one up and is going over some plans on his laptop. The girls are grumpy and stumble from their room. I fix them cornflakes and they scowl through breakfast. Finally the extra sugar I added to their cereal starts to work upon their dour disposition. Giggles return to Gressier and all is as it should be around Respire HQ. Megan and John and Kyle began to talk numbers again and quickly my body follows my brain back up the mountain. 50 maybe 60 workers are finishing the last touches of re-bar.

The usual suspects, ever present, inspecting the progress of their new school. It will open in October along with the rest of Haitian schools. President Martelly moved the date from September to October 8th when the new Haitian curriculum wasn't ready.

I take a few pictures and play with the kids that wander the mountain top. I am trying to understand the restavek problem. I am wondering how, without government regulation you can bring a country into compliance. Birth certificates, truant officers, child service a country with no infrastructure and so much corruption it's hard to imagine any of this anytime soon. Certainly, as Megan says, education is the key, but again, I believe the church must set the example, that it is the church's responsibility. Purge that rot from within it's own walls and then cry out for justice. These children are hidden in plain sight. I pray for eyes to see them. For the scales to fall off of the church's eyes. I wanna go door to door and rescue all 300,000 of them.

A Haitian restavek inspects a Polaroid of herself. Image from the amazing site:

The rest of the day is busy with errands. Up and down the mountain. More gloves for the workers, a raiding of the medical supplies for surgical masks to conteract the concrete dust. Tomorrow are the feedings, La Colline in the morning and Bellevue at 4 p.m. I am very much looking forward to this, having read so much about it in Megan's blogs. Later I make my way back up the mountain for my nightly solace. Perhaps it is the helplessness I feel at the slavery here, the trafficking across the border into the Dominican, and the poverty that breeds it all. I want to do something! But whatever the reason is, I am out of sorts. I cannot pray. Frustration gives birth to restlessness. I am distracted. By the thunderstorm over the sea. By the horse that ambles by. By the dog, shifty in the shadows. The flutter of bat-wings above, a crying child below. I close my eyes. Trying to center myself always feels like some ridiculous form of spiritual self-hypnosis. I fail. I sulk atop Bellevue, wonder what's wrong with my soul's antenna. Static on radio heaven.

But then I remember. Sometimes love is in the lingering. Sometimes love is in the silence, where the infinite God will not be bound by words. Surely it is enough to be loved. It is enough not to have to say anything. More than enough to be His in this lovely Haitian paradise. To be wrapped in the embrace of His Holy hush. Surely, that is enough.


  1. Indeed. Great post, Mark. We have been searching for a way to adopt out of Haiti and not only is it impossibly expensive and corrupt - but convoluted. My heart is also heavy for these children, as many of the adults who should be advocating for their safety are just lusting after a bigger profit. I too have wondered into the silence.

  2. Oh Shannon I hope you can. God willing, I know He can make a way. The children are so wonderful!