I have began this post again and again. I have been trying to grapple with this tremendous paradox that what had shaken me to my roots a year before — the immensity of the system stacked against any individual person — is what has gauged me empty a year later. The world is so shit-big outside of your control in Haiti, it makes you wonder about God. And faith. It makes me think about the silence of Johannes de Silencio, grappling with the paradox of Abraham. About why he was word-less through it all.

It makes me wonder about death too.

On my last day in Haiti, we passed by the carcass of a dog, laying with her puppy next to her. Her tongue was out. Flies flying out of every orifice. The pup next to her was dead too, mouth close to her teat. People walked by in their Sunday bests, barely noticing the two stray, dead bitches. I will never forget that image — the trash piles, the flies, the white dresses and tiny blue bows–

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  1. I was really messed up by how powerless to effect grand change the place left me feeling. That and the suffering I was around, inflicted by desperate people on other desperate people. I took from it an intense motivation to be the best person I can be so I don’t add to that phenomenon. That and trying my best as often as I can to resolve those things I see happening around me. Also the idea that it is the world vs. a person is often untrue. For example you have so many that are welcoming you and have your back. Most people have a version of this in their lives. Something I had to be careful of when I got back and for a while after is that when a thing or event or situation reaches a certain level of atrocity we shut down towards it. I noticed a tendency to relate to things in the worst way they could be interpreted to shove things into that space because the things were actually really bad but in a way I could probably deal with. But there was so much to deal with after only a few months there that in my memory and interpretation I made things bad enough that I could maintain the shut down and avoid dealing. It’s an easy mechanism to engage as the things one sees there are actually shitty and intense so that push to make them bad enough to shut down towards has a lot of fuel for it’s fire.
    I was a tough thing to accept is isn’t up to anyone to effect change, it’s up to everyone. I could have hidden in a tower with night vision and a sniper rifle and shot every IDP camp thug and rapist in the head and as soon as I left the next generation would filter in. It’s not up to me to change us, it’s up to us. What I can do is help the environment to inspire change happen, and I did. So did you, even more so than me.
    But man I wanted to take the place by the hand and just walk everyone to a solution. The knowledge that that doesn’t happen doesn’t make the desire to do it any less.

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