We came home from dinner and turned on the TVs in our rooms for the first time in 4 days. The luxury of our detachment ended tonight. I am in Haiti with a team of volunteers from California, Colorado and New York.* I am here with these most generous, and compassionate Americans taking care of children less fortunate than those in our own country. At dinner a few nights back, we marveled at the true diversity of our team: eleven of us, eight women, three men, all different colors, representing a broad range of ethnic groups. We come from different types of families, neighborhoods and cultures and here we are, working together – and working hard – for the last four days. While we do not always agree, and each see life through our unique paradigms of experience, we have been working toward common goals – and we have succeeded. We are doing this together.
Here in Haiti, what our team does not include, is anger, fear, bullying, rage, and hopelessness. There is no room. There is no racism or misogyny. We would not be successful doing what we do here if those evils were present. Here, we are people using our talents, understanding our weaknesses, holding each other up, leaning on each other when need be, respecting those who work beside us, and celebrating our accomplishments as a team. Here, I am privileged to work with the very, very best of what MY United States stands for.
Friday we will fly home – to a country that might not be what I thought it was ... A country that is more angry, fearful, and prejudiced than I ever chose to believe... a country that does not see leadership or value the qualities in a leader that I do. I am disillusioned, heartbroken, and tired .... I am sad for the children of OUR country, and anxious for the unknown path ahead.
But Friday we will fly home ... and as I learn to leave my sadness behind, I will be buoyed, once again, by my time in Haiti. Having witnessed countless moments of grace, I have learned that love and goodness can, and will, conquer all. We must form our teams and find our leaders who recognize, respect and live by our values. We must forge onward with integrity, grace, grit and love. Friday we fly home ... there is work to be done and we can only do this together.
*I think it is important to mention that we all voted absentee.