Thursday, December 15, 2016

Canada in October : An Attitude of Gratitude

I've been back in Haiti for 3 weeks. There has been very little electricity and internet signal. As we had enough sun today to give our solar batteries a minimal charge, I sat down to write about our mountain and the lives that depend on it . Mosquitoes swarmed me - one of the many after the rain hazards.

When I opened blogger, I found this opener  I had began in Canada in October. I had forgotten about it. PTS is very real you see and sometimes the only energy I can summon is to get through a day. 

Back in Haiti after a truncated visit due to heavy rains/flooding here in the north, I  am coming out of my shell. The ode to the mountain can wait another day. This brief passage was written with gratitude and details a little of my journey.

I'll get to the mountain eventually.

This morning I woke late -- 6am. Here in Orangeville it was still dark  -- dark, rainy and cold. Instead of making my way to the double yoga mats on the kitchen floor for some Sun Salutations,  I snuggled back down. Luxury -- a warm bed, with pillows, sheets and blankets.  

At my age I need 2 things in the morning -- a bathroom and  coffee.  The bathroom is just down the hall in this one bedroom apartment (which is above a store on the main street) More luxury -- an indoor toilet  -- and it actually flushes and one can actually put the toilet paper in the toilet! And running water to wash  hands -- hot and cold! And electric lights to keep the dark morning outside. Clean, appropriate clothing to put on, a washer and dryer hidden in the kitchen closet. Abundance. Such abundance. Some would see it as small and cramped. It is my refuge --it welcomes me when I return from Haiti, a tired, dirty traveler with just a little case of PTS. A little post-traumatic stress is like being a little pregnant.

While I do have a one cup coffee maker (courtesy of my friend Cindy) I chose to bundle up and walk the approx. 200 or 300 steps to my favorite coffee shop, Mochaberry. The street was safe and clean -- traffic lights adding to the safety.  The shop smelled so good and the music and conversation were energizing so I ordered a no meat eggything to savor with my coffee. Wendy was her usual friendly self, making customers feel like family.

One of the new baristas was making a sign to put outside. I complimented her on the art work -- it was beautiful. Thanks she said but it's in chalk. It won't last.

"Which sort of speaks to the impermanence of life doesn't it" I replied.  She nodded. 

I slowed my walk back, taking in the streetlights, stoplights, garbage bins, lights on in Noinkees ladies shop, banks and restaurants on the corners, Kala Yoga studio to keep my mind and body in shape.

I stopped and did a slow turn, drinking in the abundance and deepening my breathing. I was alone in that time and space.  If I could just hang on to this moment and this breath I thought, I would never worry about not having enough. It would always be alright, there would always be enough. 

But that breath gave way to the next --  I whispered Thank you to the universe and made my way home.

Leaving my breakfast to cool on the counter, I opened the laptop and went into the blog  archives for Starthrower Foundation.  In October 2008 I had undergone emergency surgery in Haiti for a perforated colon (caused by e coli). Eight years ago after many near death experiences I was airlifted to Canada thanks to the generosity of the Sisters of St. Joseph and the round the clock nursing by my friend Sr. Rosemary. I had an ill-placed colostomy, a mucous fistula and 4 other open surgical wounds.

I read the blog posts for the first time. The week of Oct 20th I had been in Saint Michael's hospital for 2 weeks, still in isolation and still not seeing visitors.  

Perhaps I'm feeling reflective because it is my anniversary. I have never looked back on that year, really 15 months of my life.  While recuperating from the third major surgery in Canada, my mother died and shortly after the earthquake shook Haiti.

Now it's 2016 and Hurricane Matthew has destroyed lives and livelihoods, challenging Haiti and her people to once again show that like the mythological Phoenix it is possible to rise again. 

Living with one foot in Canada and one in Haiti is my choice. I thought that it would get easier with time -- but it hasn't. I am more aware that ever of the abundance we have and take and use everyday, stopping only infrequently to give thanks. 

I sometimes despair over the limited resources to respond to the overwhelming need in Haiti. Thousand of young people orphaned with no 'possibilite'.  When those moments of despair sneak up on me,  I stop, breathe and reset my gratitude meter. So much has been accomplished by so few. Think of what another 50 sponsors or another 100 sponsors would mean.

My coffee cost me 2.00 -- that's 1.85 and 15 cents for the tip pot. If everyone who reads this donated the equivalent of one cup of coffee a week.... oh the possibilities.


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