In Creole it means under the grass, or weeds.
I didn’t know Leogane before the earthquake. I knew “Haiti” but I didn’t not know Haiti.
I did not know a man named Willy, I did not know a woman named Evelyne, I did not know a baby named Gup. I didn’t know anything of the life that I live now. I had been in Haiti but I had never been in MY Haiti. I didn’t yet know that there was a place that will fill my soul with longing for home.
Today is almost a year to the date that I moved to live in Leogane permanently. I had been visiting back and forth for 3 months but October was finally time for the “big move” You can read about the night before that move here. You can read my words, hear my promise and look at where I am today. It hardly seems like the same girl, in most ways it isn’t.
In the past year I have…
Prepared a baby for burial, Twice. Sat in horror and watched a hurricane and Cholera hit while I was a world away.Said goodbye to a little girl, with no idea it would be the last time I kissed her sweet cheeks. Was blessed with the most perfect baby boy in the world! Held another little miracle and loved him for 9 months. Gave a name to my dream and watched it grow. Broke down, spent some time processing this new normal and remembered that God was God. Called A beautiful, crooked, broken tiled yellow house home, and meant it. Heard “Mama” for the first time and cried I have held a precious little girl as she slipped away to Jesus. I have longed for 2 homes, I have learned a new language and a new culture. I have washed my clothes by hand and been laughed at by a 9 year old while trying to start a charcoal fire.
Dang, it’s been some year. Over the past 12 months I have learned the beaches, restaurants and the money changers who won’t rip you off. I’ve found my corner, I’ve come home.
Tonight Sota was digging furiously in the yard, a place overrun with weeds and grass, I had no idea what for but when I went out to lock the gate later I found a few scraps of something, bits and pieces of medical equipment, construction gear and rescue supplies all with the same logo. It was a well known company that has come to help right after the earthquake. Bodies were recovered from our site so it makes sense that company was here but for some reason it hit be really hard, this home, this place of refuge for me was once a tomb.
Sometimes I forget that PetionVille and Leogane had the same disaster. When I go to Port Au Prince, I remember easily, that’s where I was. I never knew of this place called Leogane. But then I came here and I learned the truth… Legoane has a population of almost 150,000. On January 12th, 2010 approximately 37,500 of them died. More than 90% of the population of this city lost a loved on on that day. EVERY SINGLE PERSON THAT I TALK TO, EVERY SINGLE DAY. Before I knew Leogane, she was here. Before you knew of “that poor city in Haiti” Willy was here, and Evelyne was here. Before I knew their names God knew, He knew their hearts, their families and their home. He knew what would happen and He cried, because it sucks when really bad things happen.
He knew and while the world yelled and Him and jeered and mocked this “loving god” He began to unravel the plan that he had created for me. When bad things happen, God is there, He was there with me and told me very clearly what I was to do. I said no. But deep down I knew, that God was the boss, I would do what he said and go where he called. I could snort and stop like the best of them but when I came down to it, I would go and at no surprise to me, I would fall in love. This city, that was a city before the earthquake told the world their name, that is a city still, thriving and incredible, is my home. I didn’t know her then, but I know her now and I can say without a bit of doubt in my soul, is the strongest place I have ever known. I am honored to call her my home.
I have known this place for a year, I have found friends, my son and God again. Leogane, Mesi.