Saturday, September 4, 2010

The mystery unfolds...

So a few days ago I finally had the opportunity to converse with my Grandmother on the phone. She has now moved in with my godmother since the quake had ravaged her home. And given the fact that her four story, brick and mortar home collapsed with her inside her mobility has been limited, while her recovery's been slow but remarkably successful.  I hadn't spoken to her for a couple of months since she returned back to Port-au-Prince from her doctors appointments in Florida.

And to my surprise her voice seemed rather amused when she heard of my plans to learn all the bits and details I could possibly squeeze out of her life. So blindly, I dove into my repertoire of inquiry, skills I beleived I had sharpened while being a  race-relations facilitator at PSU. Our conversation was... hmmm?. Charming. She conservatively responded to most of my questions. But still managed to remain a complete mystery.

Yes, she recounted the skeletal version of her childhood, which honestly was kind of like visiting New York on a ferry and having someone point out the Statue of Liberty, Empire State building, Ellis Island, all the major attractions but never really able to see nothing more then their silhouettes. I could also hear her glisten as she genially recounted the wide-spread development that has taken place in the small village of Maniche, her childhood home. And luckily promised to take me on a personal trip once I returned back home.

As delightful as it was to talk to my wonderful grandma it left me famished. Whenever I attempted to dig a little bit deeper as to why she moved to Port-au-Prince or the death of her siblings or anything else remotely personal;she quietly exclaimed such matters could never be described while on a phone. And as I listened, I recognized a comportment I had grown up noticing, never realizing my knowledge of what it indicated. Throughout my childhood especially around the kitchen table or wherever "granmoun"/adults would congregate and speak about politics or the dangers outside their walls they would lower their voices. In the past I simply thought such matters weren't to be heard by children like me but now question if this was the only reason. Could they possibly also harness fear of real criminal activities luring nearer if this was overheard outside their tight circle? Maybe, maybe not.

So our conversation didn't go exactly as I had for seen, but remain optimistic for the future.
Nothing worth-while is easy especially when dealing with such delicate verities, so I'm gearing up for an exciting array of future conversations with her. These exchanges will require patience, empathy, love and will...