I realized about seven and a half minutes after meeting everyone on the Mission Trip that I was really the only impractical one in the bunch. I wasn’t scared at all, I knew, and we were still in Newark Airport at this point so my irrational fear was running pretty high, that none of these women would let anything happen to me. In fact, I was so awash in reassurance that I really just wanted to wallow around in it and bask in all of the glimmering shimmery spirits that surrounded me. And on a lot of levels, I did exactly that for my entire stay in Haiti.
I was with rock star Nurses and Ni, who might as well have been one, so wonderfully organized was she. Just as an example: On the day that 6 of us ended up on Cipro in the middle of the hottest day in the most dire of conditions taking care of extremely poor people, Ni strapped the toilet paper to her belt buckle with a plastic bag so we wouldn’t lose it. I was in awe, that kind of organizational magnitude would never ever have even entered my mind!
So it’s Day four of my return from Haiti and I find my heart aching for all of my lovely new friends. And there’s no prescription for missing people. I’ve been loving the pictures and the updates and the cyber-reminiscing. It’s all beautiful and ephemeral and wispy and incomplete. I found myself wanting to ask my niece Georgie if I could fake intake her in French and then realized that without Ashley or Meg I would be completely lost after the most basic of questions.
I keep thinking to myself, where the hell is Cheryl? I really need someone to add some levity to these asinine remarks and looks I get when people who ask me questions about Haiti cannot for the life of them fathom my answers. I put away my sandwich bags and remembered Suraiyah and Rachel and Katie and Steph patiently and diligently counting out pill after pill after pill for the next day’s clinic.
I saw the picture of Lizzie lying in the bunk above the rainbow clad me and pined for her sweet gentleness, her unfathomable ability to know just what to say. And today, when I ate the egg drop wonton soup that I crave, and my cipro-less stomach bit back, I longed for the unflappable, intrepid Carrie, just take these Susan she said to me after my fifth and not final bathroom trip to the cactuses during a particularly challenging day at one of the poorest places on earth.
All of these super super Super women laughing through my f-bomb (I think it has some marketing potential) yoga. The brave Whit rocking an asana practice that rivaled mine, Sydney letting me stretch her out a little beyond her edge after spending the day saving lives; each and every one of them letting me hang, be me and pretend to be one of them, even though, they knew, I had no idea what I was doing. Thank you
How often, I thought has that happened in my life? How lucky was I to be embraced and loved by such beautiful giving people. I do believe that human connection on that level transcends the physical and becomes this kind of amorphous dimensionless spiritual thing that must be honored and acted upon. So, I’m thinking of not only the best way to memorialize it, but also how to gather up into my heart the power of that connection so that I might transmit it to others in the hope that they might experience it as well. It helps me to make sense of the missing.
All of it was because of Haiti. I was super for a moment because I was upheld and supported by super super Super women who gave and gave and gave and gave to a people who in turn gave and gave and gave and gave back to all of us. Sometimes life can be kind of magical in that way and I feel like I was invited by a Power much much greater than myself to be a part of it. It’s a blessing and a connection I will never forget.
There are two kids that are deeply embedded in my memory that I have spoken about out loud, voice trembling, to pretty much anyone that will listen; the first is Aubocoin the young 4 year old boy taken care of by my awesome friend Cindy Alloway who never even flinched while she poured hydrogen peroxide all over his fungus ridden head. I love the kid and hope he is ok and that his 12 year old sister is giving him his antibiotics. The second was sweet Sarah’s patient, an 18 month old girl, so riddled with infected ring worm that I did not even know how to touch her without hurting her. I feel teary right now remembering Sarah imploring one of the male leaders of the village to follow up on her care and take her to the Haitian Christian Mission to monitor her improvement. Sarah loved her. I hope she’s o.k.
And in the end that is all we can do: love each other and hope for the best. Within that love there lies the power to change the unchangeable. And it is in that rich, fierce spirited devotion that I move myself forward, forever transformed by the unique connection forged with some really really really Super Super Women.
Until the next time: Big Namaste and pull in those bandhas!