I am back from Puerto Rico. I met up with my family about two weeks ago and have not had access to the internet since the last entry, when I ran into a Starbucks in San Juan to write to you. The time with the family fed my soul. My time in the lush island filled my lungs with fresh moist air and my spirit with peace.
The encounter with a more commercial world startled me a bit. My family and I set a few hours apart to buy the materials Rose and Nazareth had asked me to buy to take back to Haiti. While we were there my family took advantage and did some shopping of their own. The lack of congruency with the world lived in Haiti and the whole scene seemed unnatural to me. I must admit, I’m not and haven’t been a lover of the world of commerce or of malls; I tend to avoid them at all costs. Already having confessed that, I felt I needed air and to escape Plaza de Las Americas (the mall we were in). By the time we arrived to the car, my brothers, one with a new hat, the other with a new shirt advocating for mother Earth, were confused. They asked me why I seemed so out of place. I explained to them that in my mind, with the realties I have skimmed, there needs to be a union between the two worlds. We, and all beings, have the right to enjoy beauty in all forms, fashion included, beauty is divine and I see it as a way to find union with God. I also see that we have responsibility in our actions. Where was your hat made? Where was your shirt made? Most probably what were the conditions of those workers and the impact of the environment in making it? You are blessed with the ability and the power to purchase these articles of beauty and with that you have a responsibility. Are we buying simply to consume? Is the item fair trade?
I looked at them through the rear view mirror as we drove out of the parking lot and allowed the air to awaken our senses. Luis’ eyes were full of sadness. “Papito, guilt doesn’t give fruit, nor does shame. I expressed what I was feeling and feel a need to find peace and congruency while living in both realities. We can use this opportunity to decide to change for the times to come.” His eyes filled with hope and determination. Samuel, who wasn’t burdened by any sense of guilt simply said, “I’ll check the tag and ask if it’s fair trade next time.” The wind continued in our faces as we continued on our journey.
“Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more” (Luke 12: 48).
I am back in Jean Rabel, and to my surprise have my head and heart where my feet are. Before leaving Puerto Rico I confessed to the family that I felt so much serenity with them in Puerto Rico that I wasn’t sure how I would feel upon arriving here again. Mami calmly stated, “Have faith, your head will be where your feet are.” She was right. Thank God I feel that I am, once again, exactly where I am supposed to be.
P.S.: I haven’t forgotten that I haven’t written about Theater of the Oppressed yet.