Part of the magic of Haiti is that things rarely go as you planned.
-The food not being ready in the morning means I am late for work . . .
-Being late for work means I take my walk late to the bus stop, which means the market is in full swing by the time I pass through . . .
-The light is different this time of morning, and the ocean sun glints fully off the silver hoop earrings of a market woman as I pass, sitting in her bright flowered dress surrounded by breadfruit, soap and bananas . . .
-I am taken aback at the beauty of that moment—it makes me remember how blessed I am to be here, to be alive, in a place that can so fully help me understand spirit and community and to remember the world isn’t here for me to control.
And when I am not in control, sometimes—just sometimes—something better happens.
I meet someone I wouldn’t have. I avoid an accident I might have had. I see something beautiful.
At other times, not being able to control life means the artist doesn’t show up for the meeting and the community members lose faith in us—one more organization that broke its promise.
Sometimes it means there are fish bones and a couple of ants in my egg sandwich . . .
But the second ant makes me drop my sandwich in disgust, which makes me look up, and see the hummingbird on the big pink flowering bush next to the newly painted white wall of the office compound.
Again, there is the spirit and I remember why I’m here.
I’ve started to feel sorry for my old self, back before Africa and Haiti, when I got angry when things didn’t go my way—when the light was red or the meeting didn’t start on time. Haitians don’t really get angry about those things that I can see—they believe something will happen when they see it happen. No one ever says “tomorrow” without saying “si Dye vle”—if God wishes. In the worldview of most Haitians, only this moment is sure—the present is the most important—anything that happens after that is a bit out of our hands.
When I don’t set up an expectation around things going my way, it’s easier to laugh things off, to sit back, and to meet that person I wouldn’t have met before.
I remember to be alive now.
What plan that I had could be more important than that?