Diaries of the Departed

I had a conversation recently about how I dont really sweat that much. You know, just kind of glisen and glow and wipe the  drops of sweat from my  brow.

Well I changed my mind.

I am sweating like no bodies business in this place. We won’t even talk about it.

But Charlene, just kidding. I do sweat. A lot.

The last time I was here I was shocked and amazed that what I was shocked and amazed by was not what I expected. It wasn’t the poverty and the way people live and how they practice a way of life that is almost frozen in time. Everyday life in Haiti is 100 years regressed from the states. Practices that I’ve only heard my grandparents talk about. Washing clothes by hand, in a river. Walking with loads of goods on their head. Taking a jug for miles to get clean water from a well.

What I was amazed at was how how graceful the women at Danitas Children are, walking out the fruits of the spirit in a way that I always pray for.

This time I am so amazed at how alike we actually are (we – Haiti and America, not we – me and the graceful ladies).

There isn’t much different about us at all actually.

Families have neighbors, and when they have guests over they pull out their best – whether it’s a chair or a drink or a smile. They love their kids and, just like our culture,  don’t know exactly how to love them correctly sometimes, as well. They want the best for them and for their happiness, yet out of frustration sometimes leave them, in hopes of either someone finding them or being put out of their misery.

I am updating the Danita’s Children database today and looking through “Notebooks of the Departed” as I call them. In them holds each child’s story, when they were born, to who, where they were abandoned, why and if they have any living relatives. On each profile is a photo of the child and a photo of who is “responsible” for them (aka who abandoned them… departed from them).

To play with these kids each day has been amazing, to learn their stories has been humbling, one those things that will always keep me grateful.

Some of the kids have been here since the beginning. They know how things work, are loyal to Mami Danita and what she has done for them, and oversee things around the property. Francia is one of them. She is a mother in her spirit. The girl’s house is under her respect. I admire the way she holds such a graceful presence (clearly learning from Mami Brenda, a trait I also admire in her) yet can command a room with her eyes, all while rocking Stanleey to sleep.

 A large group of the children came after the Gonaives floods. These kids were found abandoned, stranded or just desperate. The most recent are from the Port-Au-Prince earthquake. This group us still tender. Just a year later and sometimes you can still tell they haven’t quite adjusted to the stability that Danita offers.

Reading these stories of the kids and the departed who left them puts many pieces together as to why their personalities are the way they are. Why they cry. Are timid. Are outspoken. Or somewhere in between.

May these Departed Diaries always be a reminder that God takes care of His children. In the mists of fear over nuclear wars and crisis in Sudan among other things, He saw where they were and rescued them. Each one. On purpose. Even more so, I am grateful that He hears their cries even now. When they miss their families or pray gratefully for their lunch, remembering a time when they weren’t promised a next meal, He hears them.

Even beyond that, He hears those who have yet to be saved. Who are desperate right now. When they go to bed hungry, lonely or sad. He hears them and He knows them by name. He is positioning them and caring for them and loving them. Until the day that they are saved, either to their new home with Mami Danita or their new home in heaven.

And to image that only $29 a month could be just the life vest they God is looking for. He will save them regardless, but is calling His children to be a part of their story.

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