"Let Me Just Dab That Sweat"

By: Katie Quartucci

The intent of this particular trip to Haiti with Help One Now was different than my previous trips. We were going to listen to, learn from and offer support to the adults that surrounded the most vulnerable children in the world. The house moms and staff in two different communities, who work around the clock caring for the little ones, were our focus. Our first four days were spent engaging the house moms in Ferrier Village. These mommas live with, care for and endure amidst all that entails raising children who have been bought and sold, literally. The knowledge of human trafficking was not new for me and it will never lose the weight it carried the first time it punched me square in the jaw. I had met these women, these mommas, on previous trips, but they would quietly slip away after a kind smile and a genuine hug to work diligently (and for the most part joyfully) on completely thankless tasks that involved keeping a house of five children who have experienced things unimaginable.

Those women are what got me on the plane. Selfishly, moving forward knowing that it would be MY life that would benefit from things learned during those four, shirt soaking, sweat ridden, days with these beautiful women. I hoped for easy connection even through language barriers and worried about finding those connections in just the right way.

What if we couldn’t relate to each other? What if they looked at me, (like I would look at a stranger from who knows where) coming to “train” me on how to care for my kids? I didn’t want to assume anything; and I worried about connecting in such a way for them to genuinely open up, so that we could learn from them and (fingers crossed) have them feel supported by us.

Fast forward through the random rain downpours, the ants in my bed, and the delicious meals shared to find every detail of those four days laced with belly laughs, drenched in sweat, soaked with just the right amount of tears. The mommas not only graciously allowed us to play silly games with them for laughs but also talked serious with us about ALL of our needs and not just theirs.  We sat together, washed pee-pee sheets together, heard each other and found true connection. We all wanted time with each other and it was good. It was the same as when your best friend finally lets you come over to wash the yuck off the floor and listen to her share every story she has held in for the past month because those dang kids of hers that she loves so dearly aren’t gonna hear it.

It was the exact same in every different way you can think of; and I adored it.