In the Summer of 2010 I was one of many lucky people who had the opportunity to take a short trip to Haiti. I fell almost instantly in love and just can't keep myself away. I've spent about 11 months in Haiti since the first time I went two and a half years ago and my time there isn't over. I'm exploring my options on where to take my life from here but it WILL include Haiti in one form or another. This is where I record stories and thoughts about my experiences.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Lessons on motherhood and difference

Boy oh boy. I just want to say a thank you to all you mothers out there. I am pretty much the mother of these tiny twin boys and man is it hard. They get up every few hours in the night and I am sooo sleepy in the mornings! They also think it's a great idea to get hungry and cry right at MY meal times. I have had very few warm meals the past few days. But don't get me wrong, I love it. It's hard work but very rewarding. I think the boys are starting to like it when I hold them best. It's so magical when they spend so long looking straight into my face. They're wonderful. I just have a new appreciation for all the mothers in this world. Especially mothers of multiples. Thanks moms for all your work.

I have been learning a lot recently about how I should be acting while I'm here. I wrote that post a few days ago about getting upset that the mother didn't say goodbye to her babies. Later on when I told Sue about it she told me how Haitian people are different about goodbyes than we are in the States. We talked a lot about it and I ended up feeling really bad about wanting her to say goodbye so badly. I thought it was the right thing to do and I thought she would want to so I pushed it.

I feel like I have tried so hard to be considerate and thoughtful about Haitian culture but I see that I still have so much to learn. I know I don't know everything about Haiti and never will. But I have been thinking a lot about how I need to be more conscious in my every day actions of taking on the role of observer and learner while being here. I'm reading a wonderful book given to me by a friend called "Mountains Beyond Mountains" about a man who goes to Haiti to cure infectious diseases and bring modern medicine to those who need them most. The way he goes about it is very unique and amazing. He is definitely one who took on the role of observer and learner first and foremost in his time here. When people would come to him with ailments which they thought were caused by wrongdoing and punishment from the spirits, he would tell them that he was sure that spirits were not involved in this particular case. He could have easily gone on an intellectual rant about how he thought spirits or wrongdoing had nothing to do with any of the ailments but instead he respected them and chose his words carefully. He could have thought that it would be "helpful" to them if he tried to dispell their beliefs in voodoo but he didn't. He knew how important respecting their culture was. I think that's an important lesson for me to learn and work on even in situations where I think I'm right.

Unrelated to any of that, there's an interesting blurb in the book that I wanted to post. The American doctor named Farmer in the book went around doing many studies and asked a lot of questions of the people of Haiti.

"How could a just God permit great misery? The Haitian peasants answered with a proverb: 'bondye konn bay, men li pa konn separe,' in literal translation, 'God gives but doesn't share.' This meant, as Farmer would later explain it, 'God gives us humans everything we need to flourish, but he's not the one who's supposed to divvy up the loot. That charge is laid upon us.' Liberation theologians had a similar answer: 'You want to see where Christ crucified abides today? Go to where the poor are suffering and fighting back, and that's where He is.'"
-Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that quote and the timing of it is amazing. It answers the question I have for you. You are learning amazing things. Thanks for teaching me.