Saturday, October 1, 2011

Haitian Diary, Day 6: Bathed In Bone-Colored Light.

Up before the sun. Coffee and a Cliff bar (thanks John). Spend 10 minutes trying to help a vampire-bat-sized gunpowder-black moth find its way back outside. The roosters are in rare form this Monday morning. They are crowing in three part harmonies, like they are trying out for the part. Each outdoes the other until I swear it sounds if one is going hoarse.

One of several possible finalists.

I walk to the mountain. The first of the workers are there. Language lessons with Mario my new friend. He is so wonderful and instantly our hearts are knit. Fre mwen. He is my brother. The footings for the school are almost done and soon the retaining wall will be formed. The progress is steady and honest and humble, so much like Gressier, so much like their future school.

John is finishing packing when I get back. We will all ride into Port-Au-Prince to drop John at the airport. The guys will go on so Kyle can look for materials for the school's roof and me and Megan will hit Deli-Mart and then back to the Airport to pick up Megan's close friend Brandi.  

Megan is quiet and pensive but unguarded for a moment and yet she still fidgets, ever feeling like she should be doing something. She is a light year beyond the Tulane cheerleader she was, and still growing, still I think, unaware of what she is capable of. But what she does know, is that she is not afraid. And I believe her. I would trust that girl on the streets of any city at any time of night. She knows her God is able. She is not the kind of girl who needs be told to be careful. She's the kinda girl who needs to be told "go get 'em tiger".  

Brandi arrives. She is sweet and thoughtful and maybe just a bit weary. This is her third-world vacation and no one could be happier than her to be in Haiti. She has been practicing her Creole, her and Megan catch up while I watch the world of Haiti moving by at 60 miles an hour. A naked man walks across the street. I tell the girls, "you may not want to look out the right side of the car". They both look. It will not be the last of the naked men I will see. The official count by weeks end will be ten. Everyone I ask about the phenomenon blames voodoo or just calls them crazy. And yet no one seems to be that worried about it. Pretty funny actually if not a bit surreal. 

Back at Respire HQ the girls are bouncing off the walls and Brandi is excited to see the school's progress. We walk up the mountain. It is hot. The girls have brought spray bottles. They mist themselves and us frequently. Below, the most wonderful Micha...

There is a Haitian proverb; Sak vid pa kanp.An empty sack cannot stand. 

Later that night the moon is full. No need for my flashlight as I walk the narrow path to Bellevue bathed in bone-colored light. The conversations of families can be heard from the path through tarps that serve as doors. There is laughter and storytelling and even the sing-song melody of a lullaby. Tonight prayer is intense. It as if there is a battle raging whose principal warring factions, though unseen, have laid claim on the same territory. Perhaps the ground on which I stand or the heart of a woman. Either way I pray until the release of peace and joy overcome me and then fatigue sets in. I sink to my knees. I am empty. I cannot stand.


  1. Of course they looked...that's the first thing you do when someone says not to look! In India we had a car game, counting the people we saw going to the bathroom on the side of the road. Helped the time go by. As I am sure you know, those numbers were much more than 10 :)

  2. Ha. Yeah Rebecca I remember that game!