I wrap Haiti in my arms and hold her tight. I breathe in the sounds of the women singing at the chapel on the mountain, the sounds of people preparing for night, the smell of the small yellow flowers on the path where I walk.
I can see that the baby pigs have grown older and venture further from their mother who is still tied to a tree with a fraying piece of rope. They grow brave and independent but run home to their place beside the muddy ditch, to nurse simulataneoulsy as the sun sets and dark settles into the valley that rests between the mountains.
I sleep beneath a veil of mosquito netting my heart aching with the tender pain one has when saying good bye to what one loves so dearly. Sleep comes easily. It has been a busy day of giving things away and soft, slow good-byes. A day of packing up and helping the new director know where to find beauty and comfort as well as how things might be done.
Then… a car horn beeps and there is banging on the gate and I am, one last time, making my way through the darkness; pulling on clothes, opening the door and welcoming a mother and her baby. The young women call me, “Mama Sarah “ without introduction and I feel grateful to be a known part of her community. The birth is easy and sweet and while the baby is being born, I hear, in my heart, the children at the orphanage singing. “This is my story. This is my song” And in this way, I nearly burst with happiness. I look to the heavens, as the Hatiens have taught me to do, and felt the tender kiss of angels who smile and sing to me. “This is your story. This is your song.”
When the people ask, if I will return, I say what they always said to me, “If God wants me to”. I say this with a twinkle in my eye because that is what they often said to me. I am surprised then when I find myself believing my words. I feel that I can relax into this presence and know that I will be shown a path, as I always have. When asked what I will do next, I say “Find my grandchildren and hold them close, weed some gardens, look out over the valleys of Oregon; at the rivers who travel to the sea and out into the sea that connects us all. I will lie on my back and watch the dragonflies on a summer day and send a prayer to all that I have loved here in Haiti.
Thank you, Senior, for a wonderful birth on this my second to the last morning in Haiti. I have always loved a Sunday morning birth. Isn’t it just like you to remember the small details.
Senior is the Hatien expression for God.