Tuesday, November 30, 2010

after despair

I fell asleep on the grass, read a book about writing, found a recipe while I was at it, and yet I failed to write to you. So here is my attempt to no longer procrastinate my letter to you. A letter that will attempt to transmit what I’ve lived since my arrival to the States.

Four months ago, I dreamed with Christy’s baby. In the dream, I visited Christy and began speaking to the baby in her womb introducing myself as Tia Luisely. Christy’s voice stimulated the baby to dance in her womb. The baby’s foot poked out and subtly a light from inside the womb made the womb translucent.  The movements became clear to me. Christy pointed out the baby’s organs, and I marveled at the majesty of it all. I could see all the baby’s movements, the fragile fingers, the closed eyes (the way they should be at 5 months). The baby moved and I saw that the chin mirrored that of his uncles’, his eye shape was that of his fathers, and his nose resembled Christy’s. I looked up to Christy in the dream and told her the baby she carried was a boy.
Christy was 39 weeks pregnant when she and her husband picked me up from the executive private airport in Boca on the 3rd. I hugged her and kissed her belly feeling myself grasp onto the life she held within. For the week that followed I accompanied her to see the midwife, watched movies on natural birthing *, read articles and chapters in books about how to best accompany her and “what to expect,” along with assisting with household chores and errands. We went on walks, took naps, studied Dunstan’s Baby Language and prepared the home’s last details for the baby’s arrival.
On the night of the 13th, Christy decided to kidnap her husband and go out for the night. At 3:30am, the couple stood next to my bed while Christy whispered, “I’m in labor.” -She woke me from a dream where I saw the baby fresh out of the womb in a hospital, and studied his eyes, his cheeks, his hair, and toes. – We decided to try to rest as much as possible before the contractions intensified.
A few hours later, I prepared breakfast for her and packed the car with everything prepared for the occasion.  We went to her parents’ house where her sisters gathered along with her mother. We walked up and down the street breathing through contractions as she leaned on her husband. The contractions escalated, and I drove us to the birthing center where the midwife and her assistants were waiting.
Christy radiated with elegance while breathing through each contraction, concentrating and enduring. We walked up stairs two by two; she rocked back and forth on the rocking chair and swayed side to side leaning on us. As she hung her arms around my neck and swayed with me my legs trembled holding her up. I could feel her belly on mine, the baby’s movements and her womb contracting. We breathed together and swayed together. Life was coming forth. Christy clung to her mother who tried to carry her weight, as I held her mother up massaging her back one of Christy’s sisters rubbed mine, a moment of Divine Grace. A cycle of women breathing and accompanying another, one woman held the other in attempts to bear the weight of the one that bore the weight no one could bear for her.
Christy and the baby went on for 27 hours, breathing through each contraction with the support of all of us and without the assistance of medications. The midwife leaned over to both Christy and her husband and said, “You are suffering and tired, the baby’s head is pushing on your pelvic bone and not through your canal. We can continue here if you’d like, or we can go to the hospital now.” In minutes we were out of the birthing center and in the hospital. In the hospital, tests were run. Christy’s platelets were remarkably low and her liver inflamed. Soon the nurses prepared Christy for an emergency C-section where she would go under general anesthesia, the complete opposite of what she planned.
On November 15th at 7:59am Ian Diego Paredes felt the cold hospital air, stretched his arms and legs without boundaries, and a few hours later felt his mother’s warm body from outside and filled his belly with her warm milk.
The experience humbled me and beckoned me to delve within to find the wisdom ancestors passed down to me through intuition. Ian means “God is gracious.”
For the week that followed, I tended to and accompanied Christy and the baby in the hospital and then in her home as her body healed and Ian’s discovered more of Earth and her beauties. The bond between Ian and Christy, Christy’s yearning love for her husband, my understanding of the baby and my body’s natural response to the baby bewilders me.
On the 23rd, I left, allowing the family to carry on as they will and should. While saying farewell to Ian, he opened his deep blue eyes and let them dive into mine allowing my soul to gaze into his and his to bless mine.
Living this sacred time with Christy’s family gave me the life and hope I needed after leaving Haiti. It was a reminder that there is life after pain, there is hope after despair, and that we are always given what we need, it is up to us to open our eyes and see.
With you,

P.S.: I would like to invite anyone who accompanied me in Haiti, who continues accompanying me now in the Miami area to dinner on December 8th at 6pm. It’s a simple get together to answer any questions and a form of thanksgiving our union. If you’d like you can bring a dish to share, anything your heart desires. We will be meeting at Andres Novela’s residence (thank you to him and his familyJ) his address is 5162 NW 114th Ct. Doral, FL 33178. The complex is called Doral Landings West. If more than one of us shows up parking may not be that splendid, but it’s okay, we’ll find locations.
*I recommend watching The Business of Being Born.

Friday, November 19, 2010

the voyage

I left Jean Rabel with my beige back pack, my red sac, and a gift bag carrying passion fruit, coconut, fresh sweets made of coconut, lime, and banana and a fried rooster, all gifts from those I would leave. The Thursday before leaving Jean Rabel, I snuggled the rooster dubbed Monsieur Lion under my arm from MaWouj to Jean Rabel a journey that took us three hours by foot. We were walking back from our last performance together of Theater of the Oppressed. We woke at 4am to take advantage and walk before the sun rose. Some late risers altered the plan and we ended up leaving around 7am. As we walked up the rocky mountains, under the shade of the Eucalyptus, mango, and avocado trees, through the rivers, sliding in the mud, other pilgrims joined our troop. Children walking to school, women carrying merchandise to sell, others with their donkeys equipped with goods, and men walking with their machetes in their hands. Out of all of them, one had the same destination as us and balanced a large cooler on her head full beyond the brim with Sapi-bons, popular frozen bags full of flavored ice, the country’s popsicles. In one hand she carried a plastic container in a plastic bucket and the other was free.

We soon began carrying her burden and means of living. Yvka placed it on her head and with the weight of the cooler wrinkling her forehead she took one step at a time with elegance and laughter as I wiped her brow. We alternated carrying the load for two and a half hours uphill, songs were sung, people joined, dances were danced, people joined, and stories were shared, people joined. Upon arriving to MaWouj, we went separate ways remembering each others’ names in our prayers.

We broke bread together, split avocados and bananas. We performed in MaWouj and the audience responded with a powerful current of energy. The pews could hold no more weight on them. The spect-actors kept searching for solutions for hours until the sun beckoned us to continue our journey home. As we walked, the crimson, purple, and fuchsia clouds painted the sky and out of one emanated the thickest band of rainbow I’ve taken in. For a while we walked in silence honoring the presence of ever-present Holiness.
We all knew it would be our last voyage together (at least for now) and through their laughter, encouragement, tending to one another they continued showing me what our journeys are about. We are here to help others free themselves of their yoke, or share in the carrying of it. We are here to encourage the other. We are here to listen to the other. To laugh, sing, dance, and rejoice with and in the other. We are here to stand in awe of our Creator with the other.

We are here to bind ourselves with the other.

Mousier Lion and I have become very well acquainted since the walk- the coconuts, sweets, and passion fruit as well. I arrived to Port-de-Paix and then Port-au-Prince, took a tap-tap to Grassroots United, and as I helped the non-profit Rebuild prepare for the coming of Thomas was offered a seat on a private jet to Ft. Lauderdale.  The sky above the white clouds displayed a sunset similar in color and marvel as the one our Divine Artist painted for us as we finished our voyage on Thursday. The stars took place of the sun and the jet glided its way further from Haiti and my loved ones on the island. I arrived to South Florida with my beige back pack, my red sac, and a soul carrying all gifts from those I left. My voyage continues.

With you,

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

the journey continues

I am in Florida now. God's gentle way of transitioning me from Jean Rabel to South Florida is through a little boy in my college roommate's womb. That little one fills my heart with hope and new life in such a perfect way after Haiti and my farewell from all those I left. I'm tending to my dear friend in her 40th week of pregnancy. The stories of my journey here: my farewells, cholera, the hurricane, the baby's birth and all the stories to come will be posted. I will continue writing and will continue being with you. I have no internet access for now (slightly ironic), but will go posting as the opportunities arise.

With you,