Nada te turbe
Nada te espante
Todo se pasa
Dios no se muda;
Todo lo alcanza
Quien a adios tiene
Nada le falta
Solo Dios basta
(Let nothing disturb you, nothing distress you. While all things fade away. God is unchanging. Be patient, for with God in your heart, nothing is lacking. God is enough)
I'm back home again and grateful to be here safely after a long day, with about 15 hours of traveling total.
Some gratitudes regarding home:
Laundry machine; Clean, safe water to drink; Lack of humidity; Foggy mornings; Safety (relatively); Ability to go on a run or walk outside; Using the twalet and it flushes and you don't have to throw away tp in a different spot; Laws and systems that protect people with disabilities: No cockroaches and jumping spiders or ants in my cereal; Freedom from malaria, cholera. TB, parasites
-Chapel- each morning praising God together with people who love Him from all over the world
-Eating meals with others every day
-Living in community (hard and good)
-Simplicity of life- 1 choice of food for each meal, limited to a suitcase of possessions
-Great beauty in the country and work of Haitians and foreigners
-A sharpened heart, freshly awake for things ofGods kingdom
-Daily reminders that life is a precious gift and death comes to us all, and chances to honor those who have died
-Precious kids I met at the orphanages and in therapy sessions. I already miss them and cherish the time I had with them.
-Faithful examples of people living each day with great purpose (to bring the hope and joy of God to others, to bring quality education and health care to prevent death, disease, and disability)
Jean Vanier, a faithful man and founder of L'Arche communities for people with disabilities writes this:
"But so it is in many places and countries today with all the weak and 'useless' ones, those suffering from mental or physical handicaps, men and women who are sick and lame and blind, or suffering from leprosy- those whose very existence in some way transgresses the laws and the customs.
They become outcasts, pushed into the lanes and byways to beg- if they are allowed to survive at all.
They are so deep a threat to the artificial security of rigidity, awakening memories of the fear and helplessness that have been pushed down into hidden areas of the unconscious, feelings to be forgotten or denied at all cost."
Vanier accurately says that we often are uncomfortable, blatantly or at a subconscious level, of people that remind us that we are not in control of our lives ultimately- be it those who have a disability, or who are isolated in nursing homes, or homeless in our communities.
And Haiti currently has closed adoptions except for those of kids with disabilities, symbolically saying that they are not welcome or useful for their society. A woman I worked with told me that in some parts of Haiti it is considered good luck to sleep with someone with a disability, putting kids at risk.
There are many people working for positive change here too.. A priest who takes kids in the abandoned room out for walks and visits them regularly.. A Haitian man who faithfully works with kids with disabilities in therapy.. The Sisters of Charity and Haitian volunteers offering free health clinics to Haitians (to prevent things like untreated jaundice which leads to athetoid cerebral palsy commonly in Haiti).. physiotherapists I lived and worked with who gave up a year of life to provide therapy and training to Haitian therapists
Monday night was hard to sleep. Gun fight (so loud and close, it sounded like it was next door).. Shots fired close by my room, and then returned a little father away, and returned again.. Some shouting in the distance and another shot about 30 minutes later.. A tangible reminder that a safe night's sleep is a gift, and that elections are approaching for Haiti. I was scared, having never been that close to that kind of fighting, and used my lack of sleep to pray for peace and those in slavery to violence.
So many goodbyes the next morning, and I sat next to my new favorite plane buddy- a 7 year old boy whose parents are missionaries. He told me all about his excitement to see his grandma and go to summer camp, his friend who said she was in a plane that landed on clouds, and Haitian knip trees in Haiti (they look like limes and you have to suck on them to get to the nut shell in the middle which can be cracked open to eat)
We were delayed for an hour by jet that was stuck on the one available runway, since its landing gear malfunctioned. And then Miami sported a thunderstorm right over the airport, putting us into a holding pattern for another long while.
So I missed my next flight, and was helpfully re-routed to San Jose by a friendly flight attendant, Maria, who sang "do you know the way to San Jose" as she helped me. And then there was a lot of running through the airport after the long security line to make the new connecting flight just in time. But all turned out well and I am thanking God for the people I met, for all that I learned, and for my time in Haiti this last month.
Peace to you all,
Some of people I got to work with during my time:
Emmanuel, the wonderful Haitian therapist I worked with every day, who patiently guessed at all my attempts at creole and pantomiming
My housemates and colleagues; Colin from Ireland, Annette from Sweeden/Ireland, and Camille from France
The therapy center in Tebarre