Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Leaving Haiti

I have decided to Leave Haiti on this blog. Or rather as we Quakers would say, my concern has been lifted. In the future,I will focus more on the Dominican Republic.

When I came here almost five years ago, I was carrying the concern, as I have done all my life, for unraveling the roots of slavery, perhaps healing the wounds a bit.

The events of the past year have been a Balm in Gilead. I was in fact in Haiti the night that Barack got the nomination. I was weeping on the porch of the Grand Hotel Olaffson, the place where I would probably live if I had enough money.

In the morning, at breakfast, I asked everyone I met if they ever thought it would have been possible, did it change the way they thought about America? "No, I would never have believed it." A prominent visiting journalist said,"It tells me something about Americans, it tells me that they are willing to look inside a person, to see their insides and not the color of their skins."

Haiti was not safe when I came here, and perhaps still is not too safe for a single white woman. It is also a lot more expensive and difficult to live. Despite my love for it, I decided two years ago that I was not going to live here. But I was still not sure that I was staying here.

In January, I had a long talk with God. After all, my own country was in trouble, there was work to be done there, I could help there. We had Obama. There was no risk that I would end up in prison for civil disobedience, which had been a distinct possibility under Bush.

"You are going to have to make it very clear to me that You want me here or else I am going back. My lease is over in March. I do not have a spiritual community here. I do not have a sense of belonging. I do not have a sense of being needed. You are going to have to make Your intentions known."

That week I received:

1. A formal invitation to dine at the British Ambassador's house on the eve of President Obama's Inauguration

2. An e-mail from a Dominican who had been studying Quakerism for ten years and who identified himself as a liberal un-programmed Friend, saying he found this blog and that I was the answer to his prayers.

3. A letter from my editor in NY, requesting more stories from the Dominican Republic and saying that she thought I "was a great writer."

Enough with the burning bush, already!

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