This is my home. I've been here, uninterrupted, for over half a year now. The people here feel like my family. The local volunteers and many of the Haitians in the nearby community are good friends of mine. My broken Kreyol is getting there, slowly. My tent, falling apart though it is, is my little refuge. It isn't much, but it is what I want it to be. Tomorrow, I break it down and throw it away. I give away any half-decent clothes I have left. I leave my books at the All Hands library in the office. I drink one more cup of Miso's morning coffee. Then, I toss my pack on my shoulders, give my hugs goodbye, and walk out the gate.
I don't know what to expect on the flipside. I know what the plans are - New York City for a week, then London (going after all, which makes me very happy) then back to NYC and off to North Carolina for a week or so, then Los Angeles to see family. I have a project in my head that I'm committed to making a reality, working in tandem w/ Max and Dan. I truly hope the three of us remain tight and focused on making it happen. As it stands right now, the three of us want to start a small biosand filter project somewhere in Latin America - we're thinking Chiapas, the southernmost, and poorest, state in Mexico. None of us have tried anything like this before, but I real feel that, if we stay on course and are willing to put in the work, we can do it. That keeps me smiling. It keeps me focused. It gives me direction. But still, it can't change the fact that Chiapas is not Haiti, and the people I will inevitably meet there are not the people I leave behind here.
This place, this experience, changed me. I don't see how it couldn't. Anyone willing to surround themselves in a place like this, doing this kind of work, meeting these incredible people, for any substantial length of time, will walk away different than they were before. I know I am. I can feel it. I'm still me, obviously, but something has shifted. I can't quite put my finger on what it is, but I can feel it. As I wrote in an earlier entry, this country brought me to life while it broke my heart. That's a beautiful thing. It rehumanizes you. You'd have to be one cold, callous bastard to be able to be here and not feel it. Of course, if you were such a person, you wouldn't be here to begin with.
This, along with taking part in the long process of my mother dying, has been the most intense and wonderful experience of my life. I hope I can live up to what it has opened in me.
Thank you All Hands for allowing me to be here. Thank you Haiti for giving me more than I could ever give you in return. I will miss you dearly.
|Mwen pa bliye ou.|