Today, as I entered the kitchen Wadeline (one of our Haitian staff) asked me if I had heard that Sylvenson had died. I quickly asked who told her and if she was she sure that he had died. Aubree and I quickly left for Chambrun and as we walked to the village we were told multiple times that Sylvenson had died this morning. It wasn't until I saw E'tienne (another one of the nurses here for the year who had left campus earlier for her daily run) with tears running down her face that it truly hit me. Sylvenson had died. I spent the morning sitting with Bernardia and her friends and family. Some men in the village buried Sylvenson beside Bernardia's home. While tears ran down Bernardia's face, I prayed that she would be surrounded with the peace that only Christ can provide and that she would feel His arms around her. As I walked home from the village I realized that Sylvenson was another statistic of a baby that didn't survive infancy. The only difference was that I knew this baby. He was only in this world for a mere 17 days. The Haitian proverb that I posted in my last blog has been going through my head all day "sa je pa weke pa tounen" which translated is "what the eye doesn't see, doesn't move the heart." The unfortunate truth is that we as Christians aren't called to live in a pretend bubble, but rather we are called to confront injustice. My pastor once said we are called to "be brave and not safe" and I truly believe this means even during times when we can't understand and it hurts the most.
Saturday, February 18, 2012
"Sa je pa weke pa tounen- what the eye doesn't see, doesn't move the heart"
The last few weeks have been an emotional roller coaster. There are so many highs and in the same breath the same amount of lows. During the last week of mobile medical clinics I met four different women who were all emotionless. After talking with them I found out they had all recently lost either a spouse or child. They simply looked hopeless. With the little Creole that I know I tried to speak words of affirmation and encouragement to them and prayed with each of them. I'm still praying for them and their faces have been ingrained in my mind. Then, to add more to my feeling of heaviness it seems that several of my little buddies in the village have needed extra attention lately. They have been acting out and have simply not been themselves. My heart breaks for them. I want for each of them to know how loved they truly are and to know just how special they are to not only me but to God himself. Each afternoon as I walk to the village I have struggled with knowing which child needs my attention. Who really needs the extra hugs and kisses and who needs to be looked in the eyes and told that they are truly beautiful and that I love them so very much. I know that it will be a constant battle over who will get to sit in my lap, but I really pray that I will keep my eyes open and that I will seek out the child who truly needs that one-on-one time. It's impossible for me to connect with each and every person who has a need. Ultimately, the deep desire of my heart is to not settle for what is comfortable, but rather to reach out and love and serve as I have been called to do.
Friday, February 3, 2012
Each and everyday I'm humbled at how each of my Haitian friends invite me into their lives. They don't treat me like a visitor or like someone who is here for just a year. They honestly treat me like family. Yesterday, Aubree and I needed to make a quick trip to the village. That trip turned into a long evening of many firsts for me. When we got into the village the kids immediately told us that Bernardia had delivered her baby. I have teased Bernardia for five long months that the little one growing inside of her should be named "ti-brooke" (little-Brooke) and that of course it will be a little girl. Aubree and I were both beyond excited! Of course, after talking to some of the adult women we found out that Bernardia hadn't really had the baby, but instead was having contractions..next time I'll have to remember that 5 year olds aren't the most reliable source for information! We walked (ok, we were literally drug by the kids) to Bernardia's home and invited in to see her. She was so excited to have us there and instantly wanted to know where E'tienne was and said we needed to call her. I'm pretty sure that trip to the village was the fastest for E'tienne! The next four hours were amazing as the three of us sat on the ground inside of Bernardia's mud home. There is a saying that it takes a village to raise a child, but last night taught me it also takes a village to deliver a child. Bernardia was surrounded by women that had all birthed multiple children in their homes and were there to support her. Each had advice that ranged from how she should sit on the ground to how she should push. After watching the mid-wife maneuver her pregnant abdomen I whispered to Aubree and E'tienne that there was no way I would ever be able to have a baby here. I sat in her home amazed at how simple it all was because there were no fancy monitors or equipment, but only a lantern to light the room. There was no bed that transformed into a birthing table, but rather rocks that were layered with clothes to make them softer with a friend to sit behind her and hold her up. There were also no IV's or medications, but instead oils, perfumes, and hot tea. Most importantly, no complete strangers were present but rather a room full of family and friends. The entire evening was filled with things that left me feeling like it was all a dream. As I came home I was worried for my friend and prayed that the remainder of her labor would be quick and safe. Bernardia delivered a precious little baby boy late this morning and I was able to hold and see him when he was still just hours old. Last night I was given a glimpse into the reality of child birth for most of the women I have been called to serve and I know I will never look at a pregnant woman the same.
Don't be fooled by the pink=)
I like to think that "ti-brooke" is still an option for his name