Friday, November 12, 2010
Fiona doing a demonstration
Fiona, one of the nurses teaching
One of the Friends asked me today,what I thought of Haiti. I told him that although I find the infrastructure horrific , I love the people. Though people are people and of course there are many differences, this is what I love. Haitian people really look to connect. They are incredibly friendly and usually look at me in the eye, interested to check me out, with an expectant invitation that seems to say to me- "just try a little and I'll be there right with you " And that's the thing- such a little bit goes such a long way here. I feel respect without being deferential. I hear a melodic voice that is rich in its fluidity that draws me to it.( It's also great fun how forgiving they are about my French and pathetic attempts at Kreyol). I see a light-heartedness in the midst of devastation, a curiosity that is compelling. The community is very open with each other and with me. I see much purposefulness among the HelpAge national community that has an earnestness laced with a smile. All the HelpAge staff looks out for me everywhere I go, not in a "she's an American and we have to be careful with her" way, but more like " you have come a long way and we appreciate that you want to be here with us".
A big learning for me today was that because we were late coming from one training to another (about 1 and 1/2 hrs), many of the Friends left so we ended up training just 8 . Felt like I had died and gone to heaven. Even though we were in a dirty, dark, kind of smelly shed-like structure in a rough camp, there was no loud generator going like yesterday. Training 8 instead of 27 is a cake walk. The Friends, 7 older men and a women were really touching to me in their attentiveness , very willing to talk about their own difficulties as part of the practice, and seemed genuinely moved about feeling more balanced having experienced the work. Research has come out that it may be less about what therapeutic modality is being used, and more about the quality of presence of the practitioner. Each person on the team has that down, and I think that at least matches skills as the healing element . The nurses took another leap in their teaching the skills, and we left feeling very accomplished. It moves me to watch more and more Haitians become trained to help their own people . And as they do, their pride and hope is palpable. That's where the healing has to come from- not from internationals. The only business we have here is to train.