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.