Posted by: mytriptohaiti | September 20, 2011

Seeing again, for the first time

My mile-and-a-half walk home from work tonight was like most others. Through downtown, buildings looking over me, and me, back up at them. I look up when I walk. And I see something new nearly every evening, even along the same route.

Crossing paths with businessmen, women in running shoes, children wearing school uniforms, and a few folks without a home.

Tonight’s sky, a deep royal blue, which faded into black once past the lighted walkway of a yellow bridge, called with open air, quiet luxury. My eyes glued upward I didn’t notice the first call from the girl walking toward me, ‘Excuse me, miss. Excuse me, miss. Do you have any change?’ I rarely carry money. ‘I have half a sandwich if you’re hungry.’ Before I finish the statement, she reaches her hand out for the bag and thanks me several times.

We tell children that one person can make a difference. In that moment, I hope I made a difference in the life of this one person.

Having no real idea of what I may encounter upon arrival in Haiti tomorrow, my goal is to try to make a difference in the life of just one person. I think most efforts, international or otherwise, think big, large-scale, helping everyone. Admirable as that may be, sometimes, it’s just not possible, at least, not possible immediately, in that moment. I know it is possible though – but it starts with one. And I’ll hold my index finger when I deplane and hope that I am one, in that moment.

And just as I finish this post, into my inbox comes my daily affirmation for tomorrow:

Full Meaning Known

Wednesday September 21, 2011  

Nothing can be understood while it is being made. Only after it is completed can its full meaning be known.

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Posted by: mytriptohaiti | September 19, 2011

‘Hero’ is a Hard Word

Recently, I debated the word hero and mulled over the significance with many questions. Heroes lift burning vehicles from atop mere mortals trapped beneath. Heroes leap down onto the sunken tracks of a subway train to yank a fallen child from an instant demise. Heroes stand on the line and take fire so that others may live their given story.

I was called a hero today. I don’t believe it. I barely recognized the word as it hurled by me. Although, I’m sure the caller meant it to stick.

But the more I move, the more it might:

I’m a hero if I remove a stronghold from one who is smothering. I’m a hero if I can guide a youth toward sustainability, I’m a hero if I can tell the story of those who routinely, relentlessly, rigidly stand on the front line.

Yet still, I am not the hero. Those who teach me are certainly the heroes.

Posted by: mytriptohaiti | September 19, 2011

Preparing for Haiti

I’ve traveled quite a bit over my 34 years. Most of the United States and Canada covered alone, in my first car – a hand-me-down Toyota Corolla hatchback gotten at age 18. Less than ten years later, I said goodbye to Lola and the 100,000+ miles we’d traveled together. The evergreen saddled mountains of Vermont, the side streets of New Orleans and everywhere in between.

Many moments today, flashes of train rides in Europe and flights over islands played to the tune of ‘My Favorite Things’ as I envisioned my skirt billowing with the Swiss Alps winds. But I don’t think the wind will blow the same way in Port-au-Prince.

And I’m nervous. I don’t recall a time I’ve been nervous to travel, to fly, to charter a territory unknown. Perhaps the idea of the state of the country is unsettling and unnerving. Not to mention the notion that I surely won’t be able to help as much as I’d like. But I am going to help. I’ll visit Jamie and Ali and follow the minutes, the hours, the days that have made up their many years in Haiti. And I’ll bring it back. And that is going to help.

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