Sunday, March 7, 2010

From Dust To Dust

A few weeks ago, while I was in Haiti I flew from Cap-Haitien to Port Au Prince. I sat in a plane with 4 seats. In it was surely the most precious cargo these pilots had ever carried.... I glanced down at my lap, across the aisle and into the seat next to me. They stared back. Their dark eyes wide. Those eyes shifted everywhere. They looked at me, they looked at the buttons along the wall. They looked out the windows, my eyes followed.

It was a view of Haiti I have never seen before. I could see out both windows of the plane at once. I could see every part of the city as we passed over it. I could see the pain in a new way. From the air it looked as if the entire city must surely be gone. And then we would fly over a new neighborhood and you couldn't even tell anything was different. Sometimes you couldn't tell what was earthquake and what was Haiti. I had driven the streets and now I have see it from the air. At that second I couldn't tear my eyes away. We flew over places I recognized. It was like every time I fly into Haiti. I pressed up against the window. Trying to take it all in.

As we began to descend for our landing I glanced out the window of a place I have been several times before. It was an area called Titanyen, and as I looked out over this area that led the way to one of the most beautiful areas of Haiti I had ever seen, I noticed something out of place. The ground looked strangely dark. There were huge patches of land that looked different from the others. I was confused, until I realized. What I was seeing literally knocked the wind out of me. Those huge patches of ground were the mass graves where they had been bringing bodies by the truckload to bury. Those holes were filled with some one's mother, father, sister, brother. The body of some one's only child lie beneath that dirt, someones best friend. After years of being disrespected and humiliated because of the place they were born or the color of their skin, they were dumped inhumanely in a place no one will even know to visit. I know those bodies are only shells but they are the shells that represent the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Once upon a time they were somebody. They were the most important person in some person's world, and now that person doesn't even know where they were put to rest. My stomach lurched and then I looked again into those chocolate eyes. I had a choice to make right then and there, to focus on what was lost or to hope in what was to come. I made my choice and as our plane touched down on the runway with those 3 little ones inside their little voices rose with mine in song. "This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it"

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