Port au Prince, Haiti Day 7 & 8, trip 2

Today has been stressful. I was to be picked up early and transported to Jacmel, via Leogane, with a “VIP” team (CEO’s) visiting the projects. Because the driver forgot to pick me up and because the “VIP” team would not wait 10 minutes for me to catch up, I missed my ride—and arrived 1.5 hours late for two days of intensive counseling—group and individual — in very hard hit areas. The domino effect meant that there were many people expecting group or individual time with me, who never got it. I learned that the “VIP” team actually got mad they had to wait for me—-I wonder if they have any idea how long people who lived the horrors of January 12 have waited for someone to come and listen to them, counsel them, care? I question any CEO’s leadership if they no longer have the insight to appreciate the importance of this. I have had lines of people waiting for me, and today, when one man had to be turned away after waiting 2 hours (because an insensitive security officer insisted I leave immediately, despite a later departure having been authorized) his face was so crestfallen I still can not settle inside myself. I will go back tomorrow if that’s the only way to complete those sessions.

Driving yesterday, I saw a partial body, the lower torso only, a bloated mass in plaid shorts, very recently retrieved from rubble. Several days ago I saw what was barely recognizable as a body being pulled from the rubble of a massive building.How many lives ended like this, here?Crushed, torn apart, and decomposed beyond any semblance of their human form by the time they are found?

Almost every session begins with “I have not felt the same since the earthquake. My head has gone bad—I lose myself.”Complaints include pain, intrusive thoughts, loss of concentration, and forgetting things all the time, to the point of shame and frustration.I remind people that the memories, here, are still fresh.They are kept current by many reminders-reminders of horror, pain, loss, hardship, change. There is no where to be still yet— the earth continues to move enough thata pause to rest is difficult.

In Jacmel, a once jubilant seaside town, people are so reactive and so exhausted I am in sessions for 10 hours, straight. People describe the earth still moving, in their bodies –“I know its not the earth, but I feel it. I feel like the earth is moving, I am trembling again even when it isn’t happening.”

There are, still,hopeful moments. One of the first people I spoke with hereapproached me just before I left Jacmel to thank me for “her first night of sleep since the earthquake.” I woke up very early and swam in the sea….she was cooler than usual, which is perhaps due to the earthquake (one wonders these things)—and livelier than I remember this little bay. I took 15 minutes to just float, to be refreshed byher coolness and to allow her undulations to relax me into a more fluid state.I have been doing a lot of work with breath, spine and weight—many people complain of stiffness, pain, loss of movement, and the oceans natural healing is not accessible—nor safe—for everyone now. We work with restoring fluidity through our own bodies.

One women came to see me with her tiny baby. She had two—when she began running (in Leogane) the earth moved so violently she fell, killing one of her own babies. She is still “Sezi” (shocked) and believes that’s why she cannot nurse her child enough. He is dwindling—a tiny, skeletal-looking being who knew to look for her breast but gave up quickly, because he gets so exhausted. She clearly loves him and tried to support him, but is absent inside herself.

This is how the tragedy replicates itself, a fractal of suffering.

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