January 12, 2011

Standard

I wish I could be just a bit more Haitian.

I wish I didn’t worry so much about time, because I knew that in the end, being a few minutes late because you stopped to chat with a neighbor was well worth it.

I wish I didn’t know the concept that ‘good fences make good neighbors’, because everyone that lived near me was considered family and welcomed in my home at any time.

I wish I had the strength to walk miles up a hill carrying pounds of vegetables on my head and a baby on my back.

I wish that in my life and my work I could work as hard as they do everyday just to survive.

I wish that I could dance Konpa, and that music and art could penetrate my life and my culture in the same way it does theirs.

I wish I would wake up every morning and put on perfectly clean clothes and brush my hair, things I don’t do even though I don’t have the perfectly valid excuse of living in a tent with no running water.

We so often think about how Haitians should be more like us – they should be more educated, more organized, more efficient. But today I choose to think about the ways that we might all benefit from being just a bit more Haitian.

I live in Haiti, but I will never be Haitian. I will learn their language, and try, unsuccessfully, to dance Konpa. But, I will be always panicked when I’m running late, and I will worry about the small things because I don’t know what it’s like to worry about the big things. I will never have their rhythm, their grace, their dignity, or their strength. But I will continue to try.

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5 responses »

  1. loved it babe. definitely made me think. glad you’re really getting something out of your experience there. keep sharing. xx tu

  2. Chrissy,
    Beautiful. In awe of your strength and hard work in Haiti today, tomorrow, and forever. They are grateful and we, at home, are grateful too that there are people like you making our world a better place.

  3. As usual…. that is a delightful piece, full of Chrissy-ness… You will never be Haitian, as I will never be American, as you will never be Tanzanian, and I will never be Turkish. But, the beauty of these experiences, is that in the end, you find yourself to be a “little of everything”, a truly universal human being!!! Grabbing the best and most beautiful from every person and culture you encounter, and treasuring it forever, is what makes you a better person every day!!!!
    And keep stopping to chat to your neighbors! I was “interrupted” on my morning work by the new Swedish colleague, who wanted to chat and say hi. 30 minutes later, I had a new friend. That is priceless.

    I miss you so very much!!!

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