woke up with 3 bug bites. one on each eyelid & one square on the nose. all swelled each subsequent body part into soft pillows. giving me a slight quasimodo effect.
even when i return to a place i’ve already been, new adventures await me. for the first time ever, i tagged along with two guys who deliver needed food & even greatly needed companionship to elder orphans in titanyen. the average lifespan for a haitian is a mere 52 years. for the select few who live into their 70s & beyond, their friends & family have long since passed, making them orphans of sorts.
one woman, the ripe young age of 70, upon learning her picture was about to be taken insisted on changing her clothes first. when offered privacy, she scoffed, saying we are her children & proceeded to strip naked in her 10 feet by 10 feet home crowded with strangers to put on her sunday best, complete with a head scarf decorated with sparkly silver sequins. which just confirms women all over the world, no matter their age, color or economic status, are very conscious of how they photograph.
being with these older souls reminded me of my grandmother, who lived for the days when her grandkids had off from school, so she’d have company during the long, uneventful days. turns out nothing brings joy to a person who has lived for more years than most than youthful voices filling up a room.
back in cité soleil, i discovered a giggling gang of 5 young women, all friends having grown up together under the same harsh conditions their lives have given them. through the universal language of girl talk, consisting solely of hand gestures, laughter, dancing, hugs & admiring each other’s nails, i made 5 new zanmis fi, or girlfriends. each was simply dumbfounded at my 33-year-old unmarried, non-motherhood existence & lamented over my status. little did they know my mother laments alongside them.
creole word of the day…ti bebe, which is a tiny newborn baby. upon hearing of my empty womb, one of my new zanmis fi put her hands on my stomach & whispered in creole that she’ll pray for me so the next time i return to haiti, i do so with a ti bebe. a prayer she unknowningly shares with mwen maman, my mother.