I hate writing about Haiti

I hate writing about Haiti.


I hate the big quiet eyes of the inert babies in their Sunday best, balanced on resigned mothers' laps, their white gauzy dresses hanging from sharp pointed shoulders. Hours in silence waiting in the hospital courtyard with no signs of their dusty tap-tap commute on pristine lace socks and patent leather shoes. Sick sad limp little ones, waiting for exam, triage, and treatment.


Some exchange Sunday best for hospital gown for funeral shroud. Little peanut packages wrapped up in plastic and tape, scrawled with a name or anonymously honored every morning at the chapel. Stacked tiny mummies carried on stretchers, dusted with incense and blessed by foreigners in scrubs who, after awhile, must stop counting the little packages.




I hate the seeds of resentment that grow in my guy after the fiftieth request for money from gangly dusty kids who seem to squeeze from every cinder block corner, with their dark chocolate skin stretched over cheekbones and torn crocs hanging precariously from leather feet.


A chorus of bitter "Hey You's" waft up from the stampedes of limbs. Some know "gimme dolla" and others stick with the krèyol "ba'm kòb," but the alienation is the same and I fight the urge to tear my shirt away from tugging fingers. I'm shocked that their spindly appendages can carry hungry bodies so efficiently as they run desperately along the side of the truck. Hands pound on the hot metal, each smack a jolting reminder that this thin barrier between us is actually a massive swallowing gap of unfairness and undeserved privilege and dumb luck. 






I love writing about Haiti. 

I love the perfect fit of tiny warm hands in mine, the gentle strokes on my foreign straight hair, soaking in the constant unabashed compliments and aggressive wriggling attempts to cuddle as close as possible. I love the bold scientific experiments played on white skin by brown fingers - curious pokes and pinches on forearms that ultimately prove our shared humanness. 



I thrive on wholeness and family and unimagined opportunities seemingly created from thin air, breaking cycles perpetuated by the swallowing gap of unfairness. Like an addict, I can't get enough of the brave bold stories of the littlest of heroes that needed just the tiniest of pushes, the easiest of assists, to achieve unthinkable breaches of the swallowing gap. 



I love the eager nods of learning healers that sift tenderly through glossy textbook pages, ripe and ready minds easily grasping what it is to rehabilitate the shattered and vulnerable. I relish tight squeezes from patients' fingers, conveying gratitude and heavy expectations and commitment to recovery. I delight in the transformation of listless inert babies as they awaken and bloom and slowly grow to fill out their Sunday best.



I embrace the constant reminders that life must be L.I.V.E.D!, never more apparent than in Haiti, a place with such evident and glaring contrasts and constant vacillations between perfection and destruction.




I hate fooling myself into believing I understand a place I'll never belong to, hate seeking the legitimacy to write about a country that altered everything that I am while recognizing that I'll never be more than a blip on Haiti's storied timeline. My words can never capture Haiti, these inadequate thin descriptions are pathetic attempts to embody her bright full sticky harsh intensity. I hate knowing that I have nothing new to add to Haiti's rich narrative; I am a leech on her history like so many privileged thrill-seekers, perhaps set apart only by recognizing my sheer uselessness and ignorance. 

I am humbled by everything Haiti is, and I love Haiti and I hate Haiti and wish I had never been there and I cannot wait to return.




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