"You're Going Again?"

By: Katie Quartucci

This go ‘round, Haiti was not a new idea. I knew what to expect. I knew that I would get to measure progress by buildings, health of relationships, and growth of children both physically and emotionally. I knew the kids would hang, the adults would translate; and that there would be coffee and amazing food and sleepless nights. I knew the showers would be cold, and few and far between. I knew that brushing teeth and toileting would not be the most convenient. I knew that roosters would crow and dogs would bark throughout the night.

Inevitably, there would be a moment where, the environment, or my circumstances, or my knowledge (old and/or new) would become too much to contain and I would break a little more. I was ready to see progress and familiar faces and marvel at the resilience and beauty of the Haitian people. I was ready to learn and make an effort to use my specific education to contribute to the progress already being made. I was NOT ready to feel uncomfortable… AGAIN.

I dreaded the probability of anxious nights and of feeling tired, knowing that the next night would be just as restless. Sleep is a legit beloved past-time of mine. I am good at it. I set my worries aside and I rest. It’s different in Haiti for me. My kids are not in the next room, tucked in their beds made of cozy blankets purposefully picked to satisfy their individual sensory sleeping needs. Him with a firm mattress, a softer one for her and extra weighted stuffed animals for the little one. My safety of a husband wouldn’t be cuddling up to me (after sleep had already found me) when he made it home safely from a long day of work. In Haiti, I would sleep on a bunk bed with a mattress of unknowns in and on it.

Trying to rest in a place where I was not known sounded dreadful. I would have to be social, FOR SEVEN DAYS, with a group of social workers whom I really didn’t know. I would have to push pause on the work that filled my days back home, meeting needs that made me feel worthy of the title mom and wife and community advocate. I would feel grimy and challenged and if it’s not clear quite yet…I was not looking forward to that.

The week leading up to the trip I had moments of anxiety that matched some of the hardest ones in my life. The type of fear that made no sense and that was not from God. I considered backing out of the trip from the first team meeting to the very morning the flight left. So, why? Why, you ask, did I even go? What set my feet on the plane? What pushed me through the fear beyond the dramatized dread, out of comfort’s clutch and back onto Haitian soil?

I’m glad you asked.

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