The first things you can make out now, as you fly into Haiti and the blur of slums begin to define, are the tent cities. They are mostly blue and white. And they are everywhere. And they remind me that this world was shaken and continues to be everyday. And they remind me that the rainy season is coming. And they remind me that this is not just a story I confirm, but that this is a story that repulsively drags out far longer than anyone is comfortable with sticking around for. They are everywhere. And the hardest part is, people live in them.
We drove about half an hour north east into the city to the area called Croix de Bouquet, where The Global Orphan Project's transition village is located. This has been their distribution hub for the past four months as they ship food and supplies in and find the newly orphaned and exhaust themselves in placing them. This is where all the Cite' Lespwa funds raised in North Louisiana went in February. Right now there are 65 kids in the OTV (Orphan Transition Village).
Stephanie, who is 15 , took me out back to the dorms to show me the makeshift cradle covered with mosquito netting where her baby was sleeping. She wants my earrings, and she thinks it's funny when I tell her that I want her earrings plus a dollar.
Rojelin is also 15. He speaks wonderful English and says that I speak wonderful creole, but I'm almost positive he's just flirting because I even messed up the phrase, "No I don't" en Kreyol. I asked him to help me learn more while I'm here and he told me that he lost his parents in the earthquake. Both mom and dad when his house "broke." His sister's in Miami, and hopefully, if all terribly drawn out legal issues calm, he can go with her. I told him I was sorry, and the words felt like they didn't come from me. Like I was watching the scene of something very sad as Rojelin gave a little smile and just stared, then ran off to break up a cat fight between Stephanie and another girl. I want wonderful things for his life.
The lady who just recently moved here, hired by The Global Orphan Project for the year to live on site, said that last Monday they moved an activity into the church because it was raining. She said that the kids were all jumping and dancing and singing, and that when you get 65 kids jumping and dancing and singing, it is very likely that the building may feel like it's shaking. And that caused 20 kids to run outside in a panic, scared to death.
I have landed on a grave.
But this is the reconnection. This is my God. I danced and sang with these new little friends of mine as one of the staff led them in one of the call/response games that I LOVE to listen to them do so much, and I remembered that we have forfeited this life to the One who was not threatened or amused by a grave, no matter how large the price of what had died. It just was never the fullness of the story. It just was never the final say. It just was never the power it thought it was, that it needed to be to devour the hope of a never-slowed redemption.
We're staying in one of the more brilliant complexes for orphans I have seen (complete with hot water...what the heck??). And I can see the mountains and lights stretching into Port au Prince out our windows. And I think about the lady I sat beside on the plane that landed in the grave earlier this afternoon who asked me how long we'd been coming to Haiti. And when I said 9 months and counting, she winced and said, "You...like Haiti?"
How could anyone not love and be mesmerized by a people who refuse anything but moving forward? It is those people, in those graves, who demonstrate resurrection at its depth and completion. Because they hold out for it.
Haiti is beautiful tonight.
But more importantly, the Gospel is beautiful in Haiti tonight.
That we may not be satisfied in thinking that the Kingdom could not fully come now,
Croix de Bouquet, Haiti