Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Three little girls

When I return to Morne Rogue, after being gone for a year, I wonder how I will find everyone and in particular the babies I had tended most carefully.   There were three babies, I helped with, who were born into families where death, lack of food and a place to sleep were present when they were born.  Each was nursed back to health, fed, encouraged and each parent was given a micro loans to jump start small businesses.   Throughout the year,  I had heard of the many problems people faced; more deaths, stolen merchandise,  jobs that did not work out even when offered.

I was hesitant and afraid.  I could not afford to fund another round of business ventures and not so sure it would work, even if I did.   I had been able, in the past, to pay the parents for jobs they did; painting a wall, gardening and the laundry.  I had traded food for help in the kitchen.   In these small ways, I fought to keep them alive until they reached six months and on into the first year of life.   A group of other volunteers also worked to support and care for these babies.  We had all watched them and their families teeter close to death.   We knew that if they could get to their first birthday  there chances were much better.

And so, in my few days there, we had a Baby Party to celebrate the good things of the past year, first steps and first words.  The babies came and played at the library.  We sang and danced and looked at books.  We put stickers on their tummies and bows in their hair.  They gave hugs and kisses as parents clapped and laughed.  They shared bon-bons and toys.

We each knew that we had come through a great deal together and that for these few hours it was good to be happy with these baby girls.  They had more than survived- they were bright, happy and curious.  Many people came by to say hello.

Later we packed up the library, loaded it in a tap tap and drove it down to a new library site at a school.  Although the library had not worked in that site, it was still alive and would set down roots in a welcoming environment under the care of a grateful director.

After the move, the babies and i played and ate  and played peek a boo on the porch.  I can not say what the next year will bring for  them or their families or their country.  Three little girls; Dafka, Shiele and Mia dancing on their strong little legs in Haiti.   I tried, as hard as I could, to live in that moment and to not go forward or backward; to not dwell on the failed businesses and the ways I wished I had the wisdom and power to make things different. Each considers me a God Mother ( of sorts ) and I wished I was the one of fairy tales and magic wands but for that moment all I could
do was hold them tight and celebrate the miracle that they were alive and we had all lived to be together once again.

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