Thursday, March 09, 2006

I want to quit


Today almost did me in. We returned to the swamp, and met a young mother with two babies who cry ALL THE TIME from hunger. Ceaselessly. She had these dull, sad eyes as she told me how her two year old doesn't walk. She told me how other people make fun of her daughter and call her "doll" because she merely sits there, while the other children run and play. The two-year-old just kept crying because the mom had nothing to feed her. When I left their frail shack with its dirt floor, I wanted to cry too.

A few experts from Taiwan who were with us this week tested the water at the swamp where this mother lives. They said it's filled with bacteria, salt water and disease. And this mother lives here, no latrines, no real home, no food, only a swamp that floods, where people have to wade through the muck and filth, and her faith.

I really wanted to just toss down my notebook and cry when I left. I didn't. I wrote instead. Not Tarik's story, but about Haiti. I can't write about Tarik and romance now. What's the point anyway? I'm horribly depressed, homesick and left with this hollow ache in my heart.

Haiti, ah, Haiti. When will you stop breaking my heart? When will your children with the dirt smeared faces, the woeful, listless eyes and the sad smiles ever stop clawing me with a hungry soul, begging for what I alone can never give? I feel this horrible empty ache inside me, wishing I could give you more, feed you more, knowing it’s not enough because as one mother put it, “you always have to save some for tomorrow, because what about tomorrow?”

What about tomorrow Haiti? What will you do? Where will you be? When will your children stop crying from hunger, stop dying from starvation and your mothers stop weeping because they have nothing, just nothing, to feed them? Nothing but prayers and throwing themselves flat on the ground, praying and crying out, “Jesus give me something to give my children.”

Haiti, when will you stop making me weep?

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