Wednesday, November 28, 2012

We have a pool boy.

March 20, 2012
We finally have a  "pool boy".

April, 5, 2012
 We call him" ti blan"  , but he is actually called Stevenson Durat.

April 7, 2012
Of course, I have only spoken to him in passing, you know the usual
"Good Morning...
The pool looks great today!
..How is the family?"
.nobody actually , really "talks" to a pool boy.

He is simply here to do his "pool duties": scrub, clean, disinfect and keep the pool sparkly blue.

April 20, 2012
I mean, even if I wanted to discover more about" ti blan"would that even be socially acceptable?

April 25,2012
I caught "ti blan" singing today. As I meandered on back  I heard the most melodious sound, so naturally I followed it. The closer I got to the music, the more enchanted I became. The words were so poignant and true. As he fiddled through the guitar strings , his words took form. They evolved. Right there, slouched near are hidden cherry Ti Blan- he shared his story, his dreams , his reality.

April 26,2012
My mind raced as I tried to piece together the realities he explicated just a few hours ago.
I need to understand.

April 28, 2012
 I approached TiBlan to day. It was strange but refreshing
Our conversation went past the 15 second schmeeal.

May 11,2012
We have been talking a bit more now a days.
Stevenson's mom is a ti marchand right near 3 Mains- She leaves 4am and gets home at around 8pm, his dad left before  had any real recollection of who he was. He is currently enrolled in a technical  school where he learns basics of hotel management. And it is all for free. Some field agents came down to his house and starting recruiting youth interested in the trade- naturally he jumped on the chance.

May 15,2012
Stevenson wants to be a world-renown musician.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Something struck me.

I saw something beautiful today.  It was not something out of the ordinary or much of anything really. It was simple. On the bench across from me as I rode down Route National #1 there sat a young adolescent boy and what appeared to be his younger brother.

As the tap-tap slowed down for the two and the older boy carried his sibling unto the car,t in a brief moment I saw selflessness. How am I sure? well, I am not. But I like to believe I have this advanced sense of intuition which enables me to see beyond what others can, and due to my heightened sense of imagination... right away I knew their story.

They were both dressed to the tee in their vibrant uniforms. The older boy, could not have been older then eleven years old, and was suited in his neon green pleated pants and his green and white checkered button down. The toddler was in his grayish blue over-alls, - his name had been embroidered in red capital letters on his chest: SAMSON ( I think this is common custom down here to have your name embroidered on your uniform while in" garderie" / preschool, because I also recall a photo of myself where this to held true).

They were obviously coming home from school, because at this time it was a bit after one and the older brother look famished. His skin was a bit tarred from the warm island sun. But his younger brother,Samson, with his bright orange "sa pi bon" popsicle in hand was ready to take on the world. His smile alone lit up the cart.

Little did most of us know...He and his older brother, were up before the break of dawn, at around 4:30 this morning. His older brother had to run  15 minutes to the village cistern to fill his bucket  with some water for him and his brother to shower before breakfast. His dad, couldn't have gone because they live with their mother. But she is barely home, she works as a servant from Monday through Saturday. Samson accompanies his older brother to the well, although his older brother repeatedly tells him he doesn't need company and that Samson only slows him down. (His older brother know Samson could use the few more moments of rest.)

But Samson is insistant and can't help it.. He adores his older brother. For a long time now, it has been just the two of them . He actually can't remember other wise.  

Their uniform is still moist from his older brother's attempt to wash off last week's stench but they look brand new. Samson's older brother, fixes his lunch box with his favorites - salted crackers,cheese and ketchup sandwich and an extra 5 gourdes for Samson's favorite treat: "  orange "sa pi bon" popsicles.

His older brother takes Samson's hand and walks another twenty minutes to the  nearest taptap station.As they sped down the hill, they make it a few seconds after 6:30. "This is the last time!" The chauffeur yelled "Tommorrow, you kids don't make it on time and you walk the whole way."  Samson was terrified by this taptap driver's voice, and his older brother pulled him near...

After a long day at school it was time to head home.His older brother picked Samson up from school and was glad to see he had found the hidden dollar. Samson was already savoring his delicious orange flavored popsicle. His joy was contagious.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


The moment when all your hopes and dreams seem like an oh so distant fairy-tale, I believe is detrimental to a person's core, detrimental to a person's humanity. 

As I watched my cherry-red blood drip down my chest and splatter into the pearly white floor. Instinctfully, I leaped down to clean up after myself- but as I attempted to stretch out into the floor I felt each ligament tear a bit more.  The pain was excruciating, and  as my knuckles became numb - my eyes began drift away into oblivion...

Saturday, July 21, 2012


 I've recently been harassed with thoughts, stipulations, nightmares of mere mortality. I wake up in the middle of the night trembling and frozen in fear.  And within those moments of helpless I relinquish my worries, my reality to Those which set it all before me. As I try to navigate  through these foreign thoughts, these  alien sensations clouded in what ifs? in fractures of doubt.. I am certain that I was born to live forever, that I was born not to end.. In these raw moments of trying to make sense of it all, I turn to that which I have placed my faith in. 

Currently yes I stand, walking  against what seem like the tallest wave  I have ever seen. And yet, I rest assured that while this wave seems insurmountable .. it will too come to pass.. 

 I will look down one day and smile 

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.. John 14:1-3

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Caught up in my day dreams...

When will the day come when the actuality I see for others are reflected in the canvases painted by reality?

 What is meant to be shall be.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I am excellent.

"I am excellent."
Those were the sincere words exclaimed by a young vibrant 13 year old girl named Adjanie. As she walked in the room you could immediately feel her warmth, her radiant smile shared a story of triumph and hope. 

Our meeting was unexpected. Adjanie wasn't on our agenda for that matinee at the hospital, but after our interview with her everything seemed achievable.

She was open and honest about her experience with HIV.  She knew all the details of her stay at the inpatient ward at Grace Children's Hospital. "I was hospitalized at Grace through out two periods of time, the first period was from June,11th 2009 to September 3rd 2009- a total of 3 months and 17 days... " With the poise of a lady way beyond her years, Adjanie shared with us her story. 

Her thin frame and scarred skin brought to life her sleepless nights, and fatigued body. She had recently experienced a poor reaction to the medication- she had been vomiting for days, felt feverish, her wounds were fresh- her weakened immune system was at a delicate state..  But while yes, her eyes glistened as she spoke- all we could do was sit in awe of this little girl as she recounted her journey with what I always believed to be one of the most horrific illnesses known to man.

Never did she complain, never did she seek pity, never did she speak aimlessly. She spoke confidently, "I live in Delmas 75 with my family ,  I recently came from school- it was wonderful..."  Her words were clear, not muffled- from what I could see she had found her voice. While each day was a constant struggle,s triumph. "... I  was ill , but now I am all better"  She spoke about her hopes for other children facing the same realities she's had to, and prayed  that they had access to the quality health care she had at Grace.

My eyes welled up with tears- when we came toward the end of our session with Adjanie , and asked her how she was.. She boldly stated " I am excellent..."
How could someone, suffering from an incurable virus be excellent? how could someone who was recently hospitalized speak with such sincerity and joy? 


I was recently minded by a pleasant soul, the mere joy one can find in sharing their voice with another. What I have come to recognize as my voice is one tattered with experiences, enveloped in curiosity, and seasoned with the specs life has bestowed upon me.

Within this past year I have had the opportunity to come back to the place I cherish the most- my home, Haiti.  Within this short year- I have learned so much more about myself, my passions, my history, and who I am to becoming.

 And I  have been recently phased with the challenge of articulating these experiences, of making sense of them- what they mean to me. How they will shape my future, what I will carry with me.And this may mirror what I have done here in the past or it may change- I am not quite how it will look yet, but it is important for me to recommit myself to this process.

So here we go.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The tale of the king & the servant...

I curled up in her arms: as she once again recounted my favorite childhood story… Her raspy voice was melodious and true, filled with hope and sincerity

Once upon a time in a far, far away land lived a king and his servant. This land was lush, full, and plentiful… The forest served as a fortress around his castle.

 The King and his servant had grown very close throughout the years.  The servant served as a guardian, teacher, and faithful friend to the King.  Through all the years side by side the servant always reminded the King of one truth:  all that happens in this life is  for our benefit, for our good.

One day the king decided to go out on an adventure and of course the servant followed. 
As they traveled through the forest they unfortunately encountered a huge monstrous creature, resembling Beowulf‘s antagonist, Grendel. The servant in all his might, did everything he could to protect the king, and defeat the evil creature. And he did, he defeated the creature.

The King and his servant’s lives were spared, thanks to his fearless servant, but regrettably the king lost a finger in battle. Surprisingly the king was furious at his servant for not having saved his finger and threw the servant in jail.But although thrown into jail the servant repeated this one truth: all that happens in this life is for our benefit, for our good.

The king’s adventurous spirit didn’t take long to rise again. A little after a month, the king was out and about alone, in search of a new thrill out in the forest.  As he trenched through the woods he encountered a group of savages that immediately took him hostage. As the savages rejoiced as they prepared the fire for this sacrificial offering, the king. The king prayed as he lay in preparation for death.

As the fire crackled and churned away, the savages examined their sacrificial offering one last time they noticed the king’s missing finger. “ He is unfit!” they exclaimed and abandoned his body in the woods. The king was tarnished and an unfit offering that evening. The words of the kings servant resounded in his mind: all that happens in this life is for our benefit, for our good.  His life was spared because of his missing finger! 

He hurried home and immediately freed his servant from jail as he begged for his forgiveness.  The king was left with one troubling question; why did he throw his humble servant in jail? His servant had done no wrong, simply protected his king and was thrown in jail like a criminal?

The king shared his confusion with the servant. But again the servant humbly replied this one truth: all that happens in this life is for our benefit, for our good.  

The servant went on to explain " if I wasn’t in jail the evening you went out into the woods I would have been with you. And would have definitely  been killed, because I have all my limbs...
... zzzzzz

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

le palmier, l'arbre de la victoire...

 Victory, honor, truth, value , vitality , warmth , fertility ,expansion ,protection, aspiration, attainment, unification…  all characteristic of an entity in nature.. All qualities of what our forefathers found to exemplify a nation. A nation filled with revolutionaries.

Upon gazing at a palm tree, I seldom think of Hurricane Flora, who struck the south west peninsula of Haiti in 1963, one of the deadliest hurricanes in our history wiping out thousands of lives and leaving over a hundred thousand homeless.

At 7 years of age, my father’s life was changed forever.

 After a restless night filled with strong winds, rain and prayer,  the 7am radio news broadcaster exclaimed that school was postponed  for yet another week. This little boy’s contentment could be readily seen across this toothless smile.”What could possibly be more wonderful?” He thought. “ more week filled with soccer till dawn,  trios-sept with his sisters, quality time with his nomadic father.” His imagination ran wild.

The solemn look on his papa’s face was slightly disturbing and rather mysterious. Why didn’t his father share his excitement?  Has his father not heard the news?
He clenched his papa hands as they both slipped through the tall cedar door and peeked outside.  He followed his father’s footsteps up the rocky hill that led up to the overlook of their small village, Casanet, Beaumont, and finally he understood.

Everything was annihilated. Their young peasant family had lost almost everything. As his tiny palms clung on to his somber Papa’s finger tips, they surveyed the once rich, green and fertile mountain tops. Entire towns were buried by landslides, and their once so fertile lands filled with ample vegetation were entirely destroyed by the inland flooding. As they screened the land there was only one standing monument, which was rather perplexing to a 7 year old boy. So he asked “Papa why is that palm still standing?...”

Our national tree, le palmier, stood taller and rose above. The evergreen looked up toward heaven and performed exquisitely in this deadly storm. A few short hours ago, the strong winds attempted to tear it down, havoc wreaked as the 60 foot edifice swayed from side to side, witnessing hundreds of homes crumble to their feet. And that day, it served as a symbol of hope to a tiny, seven year old boy. The palm, a symbol of protection, peace, and opportunity, has served as the tree of life to this family as it had to millions for thousand of years. 

In the midst of what appeared to be the most horrific day of the year, stood a symbol of victory, a symbol of resilience. My father stared up at his father and couldn’t help but wear a huge grin, as if they shared a secret no one else would ever understand.

This wasn’t the end; it was only the beginning of a new season. A season filled  with joy, happiness, love, and hope.