"How blessed is he who considers the helpless..." Psalm 41:1

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Shaken and Awakened

This was written on May 13, 2010 in Kampala, Uganda.

"I haven't journaled "since I've been back." I keep wording it like that as if people know what I mean. What I mean is since the earth shook under me and all around me. I also mean since I became a full time single mama. I mean I've blogged, I've spoke numerous times about my account in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, but I've skipped things, forgotten events... some maybe purposefully.

How do I truly describe some things? How I felt?... More alive, more disbelief, more out-of-body, more horror, more praise, smaller than I've ever felt in this world, more important, more strength, absolute helplessness, NUMB, butterflies, calm, nausea... I felt more human.

What do I say about my young 12 year old girl? The Lord made me nauseous enough to sit where she had been treated and left. She knew she wanted to be nearer to me. She inched her curled up body closer and closer to me. I have never cared for someone like that. I did not play nurse, I played her mama. I covered her and God allowed me to care for her for hours while she moaned and cried in pain.

In my extreme uncomfortableness I looked out the back window of the jeep where I sat at a young man, alone, no blanket, no sheet, only a cement block as a pillow. Just a few yards away lay a severely burned woman. Would have believed she was dead with the exception of the slight rise and fall of her chest. I wasn't aware that dark brown skin burned away would reveal such a pink flesh underneath.

What about the young man from a local language school? He was so curious mid morning the next day why this young girl with her IV tied to the tree branch called me over and laid awkwardly on me. Who was this blanc? And why was I caring for her like family? We talked a little in strained English and Creole until the realization we could do so much better in Spanish. None of his family knew where he was. And I was encouraged by his questioning and his approval. Eventually his brother and father came to the hospital. They found him in the shade talking with me, making friends. He was an intelligent, young, Haitian man. He knew Christ. He is what Haiti needs. It's been so few and far between finding children who were with hope and opportunity. Now all I think is how many children were given hope only to have it stripped away. These children beg for a chance to go to school. Our children often complain and dread it.

I am a confident and very capable woman. Don't get me wrong, God blessed me with it all. But sometimes, even still, it takes stripping it all away to realize and to grow.

I can never judge those who hurt. I've been hurt and Jesus did not judge me. He loved me. I now know what only a mother can truly know. I feel made for this. I love being a mama. And I also want to the Lord to bless and expand my family that I can care for and hold down day in and day out.

It's like I've been awakened. Shaken awake. Literally and spiritually. At the same time it feels like a dream. My own dream. Many of the same characters in my life before are still there, but they don't know this dream. The don't see the fog. Or they don't see for the fog. Their vision of before has remained in tact.

But I am forever changed."

This was over a year and a half ago and I feel the same. I want to be healed from the pain of suffering I saw, but I don't want to lose my new perspective. Maybe I can't have both.

Haiti: 2 Years Later

It's already been a hectic morning. I got up early to watch the CBS Morning Show which featured H.I.S. Home for Children, Isaac's orphanage. Then on to work for more "to dos" than I think I can handle today. So I'm spending some time just relaxing. Before I get into my own recent personal news I think it's important to talk about our people of Haiti. Yes, we are all one race, the human race.

Haiti: 2 Years Later, Where's The Money?

This article touches on what I rant and rave about when someone inquires or has the patience to sit and listen to me. What have "WE" done to the people of Haiti before the quake ever hit? Why were there millions forced into a city built for only a quarter million people?

"But the economy of rice in Haiti says everything about the condition the country is in. The US government subsidizes and "donates" ton after ton of rice in Haiti and in so doing has through the last several decades completely undercut Haitian rice farmers and left them destitute and migrating into cities where they live in hovels that were destroyed by the quake."

And all that money that caring Americans donated to the US, Unicef, Red Cross, etc? Where did it all go? Why is there so little progress where it's needed most?

"Not that the people of Haiti didn't benefit from all this money and assistance. But, really, over the last two years, the effort to assist post-earthquake Haiti has mostly benefited - or at least subsidized - the aid and relief institutions and private corporations that nominated themselves to help Haiti in its 2010-based time of need.

"In the end," says Robert Fatton Jr., professor of government and foreign affairs at the University of Virginia and a son of and authority on contemporary Haiti, "if you read the reports - the UN Report and so on - you'll see that actual Haitians got less than 1 percent of all the American money pledged.""

So I guess my question is when is giving really giving? At what point do we stop patting and scratching each others backs in the name of charity? Who is held accountable? So many people cared to give... who is going to care to follow through and ensure that the giving goes to those in need? This seems to be an issue outside AND within our own borders. As much as I dislike the media as a whole, reality is more stories like this, and maybe more leaders and influential people can change the mindset of the general public. When you know better, you do better. And I still strongly believe we CAN make a difference, on our own, and even more so collectively.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Cite Soleil

The slum once dominated by violence

The city where my baby was born is always a combination of beauty and sadness in my eyes. I am saddened by conditions, but am proud of where he came from. The difficult thing is to know that these conditions have been created by IMT and The World Bank. The US as a bully pushing a small country into a food crisis and creating problems that no people should endure. This article, although maybe not new information, is just another source as to why things are how they are, but not as to how the can now be reversed... There is always hope for improvement. That's why people just like myself are interested and inspired everyday by others and to do more themselves.

A Day in the Life of Cite Soleil

Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Mother's Footsteps

It was a busy day in our Costa Mesa, California, home. But then, with 6 children and one on the way, every day was a bit hectic. On this particular day, however, I was having trouble doing even routine chores -- all because of one little boy. Len, who was three at the time, was on my heels no matter where I went. Whenever I stopped to do something and turned back around, I would trip over him. Several times, I patiently suggested fun activities to keep him occupied. "Wouldn't you like to play on the swing set?" I asked again.

But he simply smiled an innocent smile and said, "Oh, that's all right Mommy. I'd rather be in here with you." Then he continued to bounce happily along behind me.

After stepping on his toes for the fifth time, I began to lose my patience and insisted that he go outside and play with the other children. When I asked him why he was acting this way, he looked up at me with sweet green eyes and said, "Well, Mommy, in Sunday class my teacher told me to walk in Jesus' footsteps. But I can't see him, so I'm walking in yours."

I gathered Len in my arms and held him close. Tears of love and humility spilled over from the prayer that grew in my heart -- a prayer of thanks for the simple, yet beautiful perspective of a three-year-old boy.

Author Unknown

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Memorial in Arizona

After a difficult day our President's words aren't just rhetoric. I wish everyone had the leaders and the system of support we had (however flawed, we are blessed).

"What matters is not wealth, or status, or power, or fame — but rather, how well we have loved, and what small part we have played in making the lives of other people better." - President Obama

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

12 Janvier 2011

It's been a long day. It's really lonely knowing that those around you don't understand or don't even know. People keep telling me to write down my experiences. But I can't. Maybe later. Idk why. Seems too dramatic. Maybe putting it on paper makes it more real? Maybe there just aren't words? I speak ab it all in generalities. I appreciate those who checked on me back then and probed about it all. It has to be hard to ask someone ab something devastating. I could have lost it at any time, LOL, but it helped me to process. I'm not so much grieving for those who died, may their souls RIP. I'm grieving for those left suffering

If I were living in Haiti idk if I'd shake Clinton's hand or shun him. Would I graffiti "down with NGO's" even tho I work w them?... Probably. I've learned there are many out there unworthy of our trust. Don't get me wrong... Foreign aid organizations can play a vital role in helping Haiti and the developing world. The important fact is that they help best by stimulating private investment rather than providing social services. Putting $$$ into our own pockets, governmental or ngo, sending aid to Haiti, just to undercut locals workers and put people out of work makes #NoDamnSense

The best I can pray for today is a better tomorrow. Looking for guidance in living a life of worthy contribution, participation, unity, and most of all LOVE. What can we do to be His hands and feet for today and all of the tomorrows?!

no words

As I say there are no words, I sit and try to write. What else is there to do? Of course continue to advocate for Haiti. Continue to advocate for anyone without a voice. Continue to believe in better things to come despite what I've seen to be mostly the opposite. Continue to try and be the best mother I can be.

But today. What can I do? I haven't eaten, but the day's only half gone and honestly this 1 day fast may be simple with so many emotions involved. I go back and forth between wanting to shut off all forms of communication to avoid timelines, news feeds, messages, and phone calls. But ultimately avoidance doesn't help heal. Tears have come and gone as easily and I've breathed in and out today.

I always relate my feeling through music. I had the words "music and rhythm find their way into secret places of a soul" put on the back of my (RED) iPod. Throughout the past year many songs have touched my heart.

This particular one by Fantasia speaks to me. I want to tell all the people in and around PAP that the worst part is over. My desire is for one year of remembrance to be a time to mourn those lost and look to a brighter future. What I feel is different tho. I feel the worst part isn't over. I can't hold each and every suffering person and sincerely tell them something I'm not sure of. People were suffering before. People continue to suffer. The other side of that is that I want someone to hold me and tell me the worst part is over. I don't always want these vivid images to be forever etched in my mind.