…you take them both and there you have the facts of life…
That pretty much sums up my day.
For the most part it was all good. Today was Day 1 of my new schedule/routine. Yes, I did it. I set some boundaries, I made some decisions and I am acting. It feels good. My plan is to slot mission work time from 10-12 each morning. That gives me enough time to get up in the morning, make breakfast, and shower – something that I miss doing in the morning. I usually do it at night, and do still take a “rinse” off to wash of the bug spray and cool down before bed, but it’s really nice to wake up in the morning and wake up that way. It just seems to get me going in a different way.
Before my 10 am start time I also have enough time to tackle some stuff around the house, whether it’s laundry that needs to go out so it can dry by evening, or just doing other chores while it’s still cool. Also in there is time with Olivia as needed.
Today was great. I was excited to get out of bed for the first time in… well, I don’t remember actually. And, that’s saying a lot considering I didn’t sleep much last night thanks to ONE lone cup of coffee for a decaf girl and a baby that has started waking up no less than three times a night thanks to those special little nubbins that start creeping towards the gum line right about now. Not much sleep for me, but I was surprisingly alert once I got up. I felt productive today and by the time 10 rolled around I was ready to tackle my work, and I think I was more productive in the two hours that I gave myself than I had been in a long time simply because I wasn’t feeling pulled in 5 different directions. I had given Olivia the attention she needed, I had accomplished some stuff around the house and was feeling good. I also have the rest of the week planned out, so we’ll see how it goes. I figure giving myself two weeks should be a good amount of time to see if I need to make adjustments.
What I loved most today was the absence of guilt. I had been telling myself for a long time that I *should* be doing such and such. Because I had made some healthy decisions for myself and in turn my family, I was able to push that stuff out and stick to my plan and it felt really good. I love boundaries, it’s just hard to get there sometimes.
So, that was the good part.
Now for the bad.
While I was sitting on the couch this afternoon trying to do some reading I heard screaming out on the beach. I could see that there was a teenage boy hitting a younger boy with a switch. I waited for a minute to see if it would stop but it just got worse. I went out to try and put a stop to it. Normally just going and yelling at kids and telling them to stop is enough, but not this time. As I got to the fence and was yelling at the teenage boy to stop because the other boy was just a child he just looked at me and kept going. The younger boy had been swimming, so he was naked and wet while he was being beaten. There was another teenage boy there that I knew and as I was yelling for it to stop he looked at me and told me that it was okay because they were brothers and the younger boy had been swimming when he wasn’t supposed to.
Sorry, not good enough for me. By this time I was fighting tears and feeling helpless. I realized that some of our workers were still here so I called one of them over. The one that I thought would be most likely to step up and do something. As he walked over he was watching what was going on, because it was still going on, and when he got to where I was standing he just looked at me and said, “Les, it’s a family thing, you can’t do anything about it.”
By this time the younger boy had freed himself from the grasp of his brother. He was totally freaking out but wouldn’t run away. He was yelling and eventually picked up a small stone that he threw, but in his pain and anger his aim was off and he ended up hitting the other boy in the head, which resulted in him being picked up and almost thrown on the ground. When he managed to get free he bolted down the canal that runs alongside out property and was quickly followed by the other boy. I don’t even want to think about what happened when he got caught, because I’m sure he did at some point.
While I was watching all of this go on I was looking back and forth between our worker and what I was watching, feeling so helpless, and letting the anger bubble up while the tears ran down my face.
In all the time I’ve been here I don’t remember ever feeling so. completely. helpless.
And I was angry.
In that moment I was slammed with the awful reality of why so many things are the way they are here. The reality that lets these things happen because “they are in the family” regardless of the level of right or wrong. I was so very angry at our employee for doing nothing. Angry because in this particular situation he was the gran moun, the adult. He is the one that these younger guys will look up to. He is the one that could have done something and gotten results when nothing I was saying or doing was being acknowledged. And he stood there watching it happen telling me we couldn’t interfere.
I was angry because these are the cycles – the behaviors and the acceptance of them – that will keep a country like Haiti stuck where it is. Today I watched one generation putting into practice what they had learned, and I can only imagine what the younger boy will be doing many years from now with his own kids, or younger siblings. These are the things that have gotten passed down from generation to generation, and they will continue to be unless people – Haitians – start standing up and responding because they know it’s not right. And they do know it’s not right, but there is so much fear and so many cultural issues that stop people in their tracks.
Today my heart broke in a way that it hadn’t here before and in the midst of all my feelings of anger, helplessness, frustration, fear and disappointment all I could do was sit on my couch and sob and pray for that family, that maybe the cycle would be broken somewhere.