Today is my birthday! Happy Birthday to me! Seane and the group made it special by offering me a wish/a blessing at the end of practice in the morning. It touched me deeply.
“ I love trash! Anything dirty or dingy or dusty. Anything raged or rotten or rusty! I love! I love! I love trash!” Today we went to a tent city where we shoveled shit! Literally, we were moving garbage from one spot to another. It smelled awful (we were wearing masks and gloves) and it was hot! Some of the Haitians were standing around watching us; even laughing at us at times but soon some boys jumped right in, sandals and all and helped us! While we were waiting for more garbage bags our group started singing, humming and chanting. We used the garbage to make drumming or tinkering sounds to keep the beat. Suzanne led us and we all jumped right in. I picked up a knife and tin can myself. Then there was a Haitian girl that was like, screw it and she jumped right in with us! So we turned shit into a party; celebrating each other and togetherness! Don’t get me wrong, it was disgusting but we did it. I survived.
In the afternoon some of us went back into the tent city to tag the tents with spray paint. This was a little chaotic. The group split and as that happened, I heard Lisa call my name but saw Matt up ahead. The people in the tents were pulling on my arms and trying to lead me in all different directions. I just shook my head no and kept my eye on Matt. As funny as it may sound I thought of the movie Top Gun when one of the actors says to never ever leave your wing man. So I never left Matt! This was not the case with some others who did lose their group. It was wild. The tents were like a maze. Tents above tents, tents below and behind tents. There were ditches and hills, no outlets in some spots. In the end we accomplished our task and we all were fine and safe.
In regards to this day, one thing that struck me is that, here we are on a Wednesday morning and afternoon and people just have nothing to do. They are washing their clothes or themselves from basins, buying or selling food, playing cards or dominos…..But when you think about our lives; we get up and go to work, food shop, take care of the kids, go to parties, run a business, go the gym or yoga class….WE have a million things to do. There just aren’t jobs here! We thought well, maybe the tent city residents could get paid to remove or move trash. There is just no money. Some may simply not care anymore. Maybe even lost hope. We were there for ONE day so we could try to make sense of it all and wonder the whys; why not this and why not that? BUT, they live there every single day with no structured house, dirt floors, no money; it’s not unusual AT ALL to see naked children running around. Again, I still can’t comprehend how we have everything and more and these people have NOTHING. It baffles my mind and breaks my heart.