Bandaging Dada has become more of a dance party than anything else. We meet and every single day is like it's the first time we’ve seen each other in years. We jump up and down and laugh and everyone talks at once. We dance and dance. Marcy dances and sings and Dada wraps her arms around her. I love these daily dance bandage parties.
Crochet class is a total success. Marcy and I teach a huge group to crochet and it's so much fun. I love it. The boys are such fast learners! It's so cool to watch these teenage boys love to crochet. Im thankful Marcy is here to help me with this.
After crochet we decide to go to Zee's to escape another church service. Shhh don’t tell anyone ;) We are sitting on the peaceful porch when I just feel like I need to sing. I go inside his house because the echo is so good. I start to sing. I don’t know how long I have been singing but I can’t stop. Song after song are coming to me and I haven’t felt the Holy Spirit like this in so long. I am overwhelmed. I end up on my knees. When I finally open my eyes Marcy is singing with me. I had no idea she even came in. We just sit on the floor in silence. Man it feels so wonderful to sing. I feel so open when I sing, like I am giving all of me, everything that I am, my whole heart. Blan is handicapped and even though he was trying so hard in class last night to crochet, it was just taking him longer than the other kids. I asked him to come this morning so I could show him without everyone around. We try over and over. When I see him starting to get it I watch his face. His eyes glow and a huge smile crosses his face. He is so proud and happy. Marcy and I hold back tears. It's a beautiful thing.
Today is my wonderful Bloat Toad's birthday Judelin! Happy birthday Judelin! After bathing Betsayina and bandaging Dada Marcy and I decide to go downtown and buy a cake. I see cakes in Lori's shop every time I’m in there so it’ll be an easy day because after we drop it off we will be free to do whatever for the rest of the day. Through all the aisles. No more cakes. Tomorrow they will have cakes again. Tomorrow isn’t today. We check Kay st Fleur and they are out of cakes as well. If any of you know Marcy, you know she can bake like the wind. If any of you know me, you know I suck at baking. Never succeed. Marcy is organized in her baking and I feel I should be able to do what I want with batter or dough. So, rather than admit defeat, we decide to bake a cake. We buy all the supplies including two eggs and head back to Papa's house. Marcy is on the back of Batakol (my bike) clutching our baking supplies and the thin little plastic bag of eggs.
The hill to the house has never looked more treacherous. Marcy can’t hold on to anything due to the fact that she has handfuls of groceries and can’t break the eggs. Up the hill we go free and clear! We made it. I don’t want to say I’m surprised, but I am. We laugh hysterically as we Haitian style bake a cake. No electricity. No proper baking pans. Homemade frosting out of who knows what. With her actual baking skills and my it’ll be fine mentality we bake a cake. And guess what? IT IS AMAZING. It’s so good.
Now Marcy has to balance the cake down the hill. She does it! If this triple layer cake makes it all the way to Judelin's house on the back of my bike with me and Marcy I’m going to be shocked. Every bump we check it to make sure nothing is falling and…we make it. Judelin loves it. What a fun little thing.
I have seen more horrible creatures during Marcy's visit than I have ever seen here before. This week, a mouse crawled down her back while she was sleeping. A rat fell out of the rafters onto her bed right by her feet. We had an infestation of ants that bit her all over. There were more mosquitoes than ever before. Tons of geckos. Huge moths flapping on our mosquito nets in the night. So many mice. Cockroaches crawling over the walls. A tree frog on my bed. Hugh spiders in the bathroom. I have no idea why but I’m thankful she is an amazing sport. For some reason she couldn’t sleep very well after the mouse ran down her back. Not sure why...
The container has finally arrived in Jeremie! Poppyseed is so relieved! He has worked so hard trying to get it here. Spent so much time and money. He has been stressed and worried for it. Nothing is ever simple in Haiti so he is so relieved that after his hard work it will finally pay off.
The pastors of the churches are so excited to get the supplies. Thank you everyone for your donations. Now the people in the remote villages will receive their building supplies! And thank you to my folks who kept it up and never gave up even when it was discouraging. Right when I think my day is over its time for another house call. Poppyseed, Dan, Zee and I head down the mountainside to Manel's house.
Manel's uncle has seizures throughout the day and will end up falling down the cliffs. Manel's house is built on the side of a cliff. His home consists of scraps of tin nailed shoddily together. Their floor is dirt and a small oil lamp glows dimly on a makeshift bedside table. A dusty bed is kept off the floor by a bed frame consisting of bricks, wood and odds and ends. The uncle comes and sits on the bed. His whole forehead is scabbed over. His shoulder is infected and his right leg also has cuts and scrapes. I clean his wounds and sing to him when he starts to cry. Poppyseed joins me and I am completely caught in the moment. I often forget the feeling I get when I sing with my family until I sing with one of them again. I am so happy Poppyseed hiked down this mountain with us even though he is tired.
Poppyseed has a beautiful voice and one of my favorite things growing up was when he and mom would sing for us at night. I remember when we lived in Jeremie and they would sing the same song we are singing right now. We would all sit on our bed with a dim oil lamp just like this one and we would listen to this song. “Take my heart of stone away. Put a new one in its place. Let it be more like your own. Take my heart, Lord take my heart.” Now, twenty years later we are singing it together again, in Jeremie, sitting on this family's bed, with a dim oil lamp flickering and casting dancing shadows against the wall. This precious man raises his hands in the air and hums along with us. His eyes are closed and he is worshipping with all his heart. Dan, Poppyseed and Zee pray for him and we say goodnight. We hike back up the hill and Richard's mom is waiting for us on top of the mountain. She wraps her arms around me and I just hug her. I hold her. She doesn’t let go of me. We all stand on top of the mountain in silence looking up at the stars. I am overwhelmed with love and gratitude for being alive in this very moment.
My throat closes and tears stream down my face. No one knows nor do they need to. I am just accepting this moment. Her head against my chest and my arms wrapped around her. The stars bright and fiery above us. Walking back to Papa’s. Another wounded hand waiting for me to clean. I’ll take it. I’ll take every infection. I’ll take the lack of sleep. Every scabies baby. Every sweaty hike. Every hopeful person. Every bucket shower. Every cockroach. Every cup of overly sweet strong black coffee. Every smile. Every smell. Every ounce of dust covering my feet. Every part of Haiti. The good with the bad. I’ll take it with open arms. Every part.
Dan, Poppyseed and I had a good weekend. It was awesome to have them here. They left this morning. Thank you Dan for taking the time to go where people don’t want to go. For wanting to experience things as they are. For not minding living like the people. For being up for anything. For writing things as they truly are. For taking the time to ask questions and wait for the answer. I’m excited to see what you do with it. Thanks for coming.
This moto. I’m so glad I have it. Flying through the streets late at night is my absolute favorite. I suppose its a lot of things that make it so wonderful to me. No one is in the streets and the people that are can’t see that I’m blan. It's the only time I can fully see Jeremie through the eyes of a Haitian. No one notices me or yells or watches my every move. I can fly through the streets and trails and past shops and homes without a single head turning. Its also the only time I’m ever truly alone. No one knows where I am or what I’m doing. Just me and a road or a trail. There is one specific strip that I can really fly on. I stand up on my bike and kick it into 3rd then 4th. My hair is blowing straight back and smoke from a nearby fire burns my eyes. I feel so free. So so so free. I have a huge smile on my face and I can feel the dust on my teeth. I am thankful for Batakol. I am so thankful to be here. I am so thankful to be free.