Collision by Katie Quartucci
Returning to Haiti was a coming to terms of sorts for me. An acknowledgement of what had transpired in my life for the last year since the first trip “over there.” An in your face, I dare you to deny it, embracing of the lack of control. You see, secretly in my mind I had vowed (eye roll) that I would never return to Haiti unless a list of things was within my control. Then, shabam, I heard God tell me to “Go” in a not so subtle way…again. “Sure” I responded, “I’m a goer. I go. Where?” The response was a punch in the gut. Surely I didn’t need to go back….”over there.” Things are just settling down from the shit fest that ensued from the initial trip. (I mean that in the most loving way – 10 things I hate about Haiti). My EVERYTHING had been shifted and ruffled up and peeled. Again? Nah, I’m good.
That “nah” put me on a plane to Haiti less than a month after I even thought to say never. Funny, how things work out that way. Funny, how my God knows exactly how this girl is wired. Funny. Not like funny ha ha but more like funny I’m not sure I can emotionally survive any more of my layers being revealed, that kind of funny. I was afraid. Scared that the fragile balance aka control that had finally been restored in my life would be shaken, stirred and poured back out for me to sift through, again.
The hubs lovingly clung to me while he pushed me to acknowledge a truth that both of us have known since that day on the stairs when we were barely adults, barely dating, watching that line on the pregnancy test shout positive. God is trustworthy.
I don’t have a verse to insert here or a special spiritual coin to flip that says trust God. I just know in my knower. We know in our knowers. Everyone has some truth that they always come back to for their own unique and specific reasons. Ours is that we can trust the one who put us together. So, as we both clung to and pushed at each other we moved forward through the “nah” and I was on my way.
This trip I would get to experience everywhere and everyone Help One Now partnered with in Haiti. I would get to revisit all the beauty and tragedy that collided in my mind just a year prior. I was scared and ecstatic. There was one place that would be new to me, though. As I was comforted by the familiarity of a place that had once shocked me I was anxious for the revealing of the newest partnership.
A place named Ferrier Village, an anti-human trafficking village, rescue for the most vulnerable of us all, children. This place rests on the border of Haiti and the Dominican Republic where human trafficking runs rampant. This area is where Father’s are selling their babies, women sneak children across the border to be sold, and men smuggle teenagers into slavery. I was painfully made aware of these exact situations as I held the babies the stories were about. Wrap your brain around that! You can’t. I am still trying.
This is where a fresh collision of tragedy and hope came to a head. In Ferrier village local Haitian widows and women, I call them angels but whatever, are employed as house moms. They work 24-hour shifts, 6 days a week with one day off. In each house there are five rescued sweet baby dumplings, some of who are in their teens. The homes are set up to resemble a family environment. There are two rooms with bunks, a living room and a bathroom.
Let’s just say that I worked in child-care for 6 years when I had littles of my own. I worked 8-hour shifts; 5 days a week with an hour lunch break daily. I cared for children who were WANTED by their family. The end. There is no comparison. So, what did I do? I compared. I watched the women smile and groom and get after and feed and sing and carry and LOVE the unwanted. And I broke, again.
Some of these kids knew they had been abandoned, orphaned, sold. Others did not know their NAMES! One child worked as a slave (while he mourned the death of his father) because the food he was given for his work validated his owners need for a 5 year old slave. How is this even true?!
Not only did the house moms care for these babes 24/7 effortlessly they did it without complaint. I promise you I probably complained a time or two in my stint as a child care worker. That’s not even the point. The point is that there are UNWANTED PEOPLE who are being BOUGHT and SOLD and that there is a place that calls out “welcome” with women in it saying “you are loved and wanted and safe.” Insert nausea here. It literally makes my body want to double over and expel every and any emotion inside of me.
Those kids in Ferrier have been through too much, yet the moms are loving them and giving them a family. It is crazy. The kids are clean and loved and smiling. How are they smiling? There were moments of desperation that revealed the children’s past, that fanned the embers of vulnerability that had just been smothered by the arms of their new mom. These women whispered hope with their actions. With every bow tied and butt wiped they are telling these kids “You aren’t a slave anymore. You have a NAME and you are wanted.” Angels. These women are hope and justice personified. It is overwhelmingly evident and undeniable and it is beautiful.
This is where the layers for me continue to be peeled away. You see beauty used to be as simple as lashes, a painted face and just the right outfit/accessory to me. I used to think this kind of beauty was the difficult kind, the kind that takes effort and thought, the kind of beauty that makes impressions and draws people.
Experiencing Ferrier a year after the initial shift in my life I realized that real beauty is hard and dirty. Smelly. It’s a cultivation of thoughts, ideas and heart. It’s an active beauty. One that trips and gets bruised but jumps back up and dusts off. Beauty embraces change and expects to go through the difficult to get to the pretty. This beauty has a real cost. More than the money it takes to shop away an emotion. The cost is, inviting knowledge and experience that tears away the superficial and exposes the raw and unprotected.
One way or the other we embrace a purpose and run with it. Whether we know we are or not. Good or bad, we are running. But how do we determine the good and the bad? How do we weigh the level of “bad” or the level of “good?” The next minute there will be a better something or a deeper tragedy. Some say evil…. some say its God. If what I believe is true, that God set it all in motion that He is in charge of every piece of every puzzle then how can I ever wrap my tiny brain around the crushing gravity of both extremes? I probably never will. One thing I do know is that the moms in Ferrier are one of the most important puzzle pieces in this real life beautiful collision. No matter how much I wish I could unknow or stop watching the wreckage I’m always reminded with a whisper or a shout to trust my knower and whom it trusts.
If you want to help the children of Ferrier Village,