Port au Prince, Haiti Day 10, Trip 3

Yesterday we worked with our new staff support team, who gave their first “wellness presentation”. They were marvelous. I was ecstatic all day. After — and along with — so much destruction and suffering, the pure pleasure of training, teaching, sharing, inspiring a team is absolute joy. People ask me all the time why, or how, I do this work. This is why.

I am certain our team will serve our program brilliantly. And as one of the first comprehensive staff support teams/programs to be implemented after the earthquake, they will serve Haiti by inspiring the same types of support at other organizations. The feedback from training participants — especially other NGO’s — was that the training was original, and well contextualized for Haiti. Everyone felt ready to begin this process; essentially, to develop programs to take care of their local staff — which means taking care of the Haitian people.

Today, Trauma Resources International’s “HANDS ON HAITI” team of cranial-sacral therapists arrived and are already at work. I just went down to their work space to see how they are doing and to see if any interpretation is needed. The space where they are working has become pure prayer. There is a line of people waiting for sessions.

The idea for this occurred to my dear friend Karen and I after my first trip here. So many of the complaints I heard focused on pain and tension in the spine, neck, head, and the “de-equilibration” of the nervous system. Working somatically was very helpful; we knew that this type of work might also provide much needed amelioration of these more physical complaints.

Last night I ran into one of my dance teachers here, and didn’t recognize her. I admitted this, as I have known this for many years. She simply said: “I’m tired.” A good friend of hers, who also happens to be a good friend of a person I counseled today, lost his baby in a home near the Hotel Montana. Because the parents were traveling, the child was in the care of an Aunt, who was at work when the earthquake hit. The babysitter charged with the care of the baby ran out of the home, afraid. She left the baby. The house collapsed. The baby hasn’t been found.

I cried when I heard this story for the second time today. I thought about the idea of “6 degrees of separation” and how connected we all are. I think about the enormity of this tragedy, of the many, many stories I—one solo person–has heard and processed. How many more stories? How many times is this sadness magnified, still? I reflect on a favorite poem by Thich Nat Han, “Please Call Me By My True Name”. I once heard something about joy and pain emerging from the same seed. My reflections today are somewhere in that seed.

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