Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Everyone grapples with the insurmountable obstacles Haiti faces in recovery. There is no way to spend time in the country, with its people, without somehow feeling overwhelmed by the hard hand this country has been dealt. But we all came to Haiti with hearts full of hope that somewhere, someday, this country will be healed.

Within four days of my return from Haiti, no fewer than five people had Stephanie featured in their facebook profile pictures. It is no surprise that this little one became the unofficial mascot of our time with Project Medishare and a facebook phenom.

She was at the hospital when we arrived on Christmas day. Tiny, gorgeous, spunky and getting better after a nasty infection. She needed wound care and some antibiotics, but mostly, she just needed attention. Her mom was always at her side - also gorgeous, small boned, fragile appearing, somewhat tired. After spending time with feisty and non-stop Stephanie, one quickly understood the source of her fatigue. Stephanie’s laughter would fill the whole courtyard. And her smile was a megawatt, bright lights, big city, heartbreaker, movie star smile. Unforgettable.

I was the one who okayed her discharge – I made enemies that day – but I craftily required that she return to wound care clinic for dressing changes – ensuring we would see her strutting around the campus up until our final day in Haiti. Stephanie was the energy we all needed in the middle of draining days. She was our sunshine.

In that small child, with her torn jean skirt and her dirty knees we wished for the future of this vibrant people. Her childish determination and spunk seemed enough to buoy our spirits and give us hope that all that Haiti has suffered, can be overcome. In Stephanie, we saw the courage, and tenacity of the Haitian people. We saw a spirit that knows great, unbridled joy in the face of so many unknowns.

To me, Stephanie represents our hope for Haiti – that it becomes a place worthy of this strong child’s future. Our hope that Stephanie can find happiness, and joy in her beautiful but injured country. Our hope for Haiti, laughing out loud and filling our hearts with so much joy. 

Friday, March 4, 2011

DIA (accompanied by Kings of Leon)

Re-entry. It is always after 9pm. Dark outside, while the iridescence of the terminal is uncomfortably bright. Those waiting around the gates are drearily wandering around or shifting restlessly in the uncomfortable plastic seats. I get my earphones in my ears and turn the iPod up loud as soon as I step off the airplane.  “…Running with the street lights, laughing at the grave, he swears he’s gonna give it up, it’s never gonna be enough…” This is reality, I am back, and I am not ready.

It is usually a long walk to the middle of the terminal, two escalators down and a wait for the next train. I turn the music up louder as I escape into the limbo that is the airport. “…I just wanna be there, when you’re all alone, thinkin’ ‘bout a better day... “

I don’t sit in the train, I lean against one of the poles by the exit doors, close my eyes and try to balance without holding on – train surfing to the music roaring in my ears. “...I just wanna hold you, take you by the hand, tell you that you’re good enough, tell you that it’s gonna be tough...“

At the end of the ride, up the escalator, and I walk quickly. There is no one waiting for me on the other side of the simple barrier gate. There is no sign with my name, no hug or smile to meet me. I just keep walking. “…’cause I ain’t got a home. I’m out here all alone...“

At the baggage claim I know I will wait again. I hop up on the cages opposite the carousel. Sometimes I lie down on the cage and close my eyes and just lose myself in the music “...‘cause I ain’t got a home...“

Sometimes I sit, dangling my legs, watching the people, making up stories about their lives. Over there is a team of dancers returning from the Orange Bowl, all wearing matching sweatshirts and sporting perky ponytails. There is a guy in a suit, making an important looking phone call and a little boy racing around with his backpack on, trying to evade his parents inescapably swift grasp.  A few feet away stands a cowboy – black hat and all – shifting uncomfortably in his boots. I close my eyes. “…Out here all alone, said I ain’t got a home...“

When my bag drops and rounds the carousel, I leave my perch. With one move, I pick up the bag, drop it on its wheels, pull the handle and move . . . down the escalator to door 413 and out into the bite of the cold, dark air that is Denver. My car is usually in K or L. I throw the bag in, jump in the drivers seat, iPod docked, and off, to pay for the parking and drive home.

It is dark and quiet when I get in the door. I have been gone awhile – it smells alittle stale. No Beau to greet me – I will pick him up tomorrow. I leave my bag downstairs dig out my cell phone charger and head up to bed. Tomorrow is an early day. Reality. I am back. I am not ready.  “…I’ll forever roam. I ain’t got a home.”