I really have no words for today.
Well, I have some words. I found out that the women in the kitchen, whose names I have now on a yellow piece of paper – Mrs. Dominique, Mrs. Rolene, Mrs. Venise, Mrs. Esther, Mrs. Josiane, Mrs. Jislene, Miss Falone, and Miss Margie – talked about me all day yesterday. They were happy and joyful and loved having me in their kitchen. That was what I was told. (Make sure to read Why Cooking and Laundry Changed my Life)
I am planning on coming back. And walking in that kitchen and telling them in Creole (because I’m going to learn more) that I am ready and delighted to work with them again.
Haiti has a way of changing your heart.
Haiti has a way of helping you find your heart.
So today, today as I drive back from Torbeck to Port au Prince my heart is full and content. I knew I would leave Haiti a different person, but I really don’t know how I would be different. I could tell you about the perspective gained, or the value on community, or the celebration of the little things, or the joy that I have found, but that is only part of the transformation in my own self.
Haiti made me find me.
In a way that is not morphed or warped or tinted or influenced by what others think, or what I think I should be doing, or what the media tells me to do. Here I was just able to be me – without the layers of unneeded perfection and measuring up. There was no judging and no presuppositions.
This surprised me.
I thought for sure I would be telling you that I found joy in Haiti – which I did. But, to come to the place where you are so isolated from your old self that you end up finding your real self? That is a gift. A real gift. It’s hard to get to that place of comfortable when there are so many extras that we’re told to do in our day to day life.
I’m telling you. Those extras, those things, those need to do’s, and all of that doesn’t really matter.
Love your family. Love your neighbors.
Don’t spend your life wishing and waiting for things to change for you to live alive and grateful and full of joy. These people in Haiti are some of the most joyful people I have ever met. And they live in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
But, you would not know it. They are richest, most full of life, joyful people I have ever met.
It took me a bit to stop seeing Haiti through my American eyes. I would see the trash on the street and miss the dialogue between friends. I want to see the relationships. The real importants.
It is freeing to live without the layers of stuff on me.
As I was getting ready for the airport today I pulled out my travel clothes. It was with a sigh that I got ready and did my hair – just a bit, but kept it curly with remnants of corn rows on the top – and put on just some lipgloss. I really didn’t care, I guess.
To home. Me, a new person, who will now have to figure out how to live in America again and to not lose the most powerful life lessons learned here in Haiti.
It is the most real I think I’ve ever felt.
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oh yes, Haiti…it wrecks you. My husband has been 6 times and each time he comes back it is harder to adjust to American life..”Disneyland” he calls it…
be kind to yourself upon return and pray…lots!
I was in Honduras for 10 days last summer, and had similar feelings. It changes you…but it’s hard to make it stick once you’re back home. Thanks for sharing your experiences.
I am just soaking in your words like they are a breath of fresh needed air to my being. Thank you. May we all find our “real and genuine” selves amidst the things… or perhaps strip them layer by layer to discover the raw joy within us all.