Some of you know that I serve on the board of a non-profit ministry. A group of my friends helped establish a small children's home in southern Haiti, and that has become a really important part of my life. It's really just a Haitian family that agreed to take in some girls and raise them as their own. From there we also partner with other ministries and do some education work. It's completely Haitian-run on the Haiti side and we just build on those relationships and provide needed resources. It's called Providence Ministries, and if you're interested you can read more about us here.
Anyway, I thought that since I seem to be short on time and words, I would reprint some essays about my time in Haiti that I've written over the years. Today will be the first of a yet-to-be-determined number of installments. (You know how I hate to hem myself in.)
Haiti Behind My Eyes
This happens all the time. I might be answering emails or working on a lesson or even just walking from one room to the next and suddenly I'm in Haiti. I feel the rush of heat that smothers me and anchors me to the world. I hear the singing cadence of Kreyol, only comprehending a small portion of what I'm hearing, but enjoying the music anyway. I see Francianne's face, a curious map of grief and gratitude and longing and joy. It lasts for only a moment and then I return to where I am. I like it when I return, but I'm never really comfortable. I haven't really been comfortable since I first set foot in Haiti over ten years ago.
I both love and hate Haiti. I have seen some of the most awe-inspiring beauty and some of the most soul-killing ugliness there. Most of the time this beauty and ugliness are woven together like conjoined twins. It breaks your heart wide open and prompts the kinds of questions that you will wrestle with for the rest of your life. The biggest question is this: how is it that I was born in this plush little cradle in the world and Francianne and everyone else I love there were born in the fear-drenched regions of poverty and despair?
I don't think there's an answer to this question, but it binds me to Haiti in peculiar ways. I drift there in my mind periodically to wrestle with demons and to remember how lucky I am.