I am sitting in the Port-Au-Prince Airport, there is air conditioning, and clean floors, and television screens, and already it seems like what I have seen this week is a dream. But I know it is not. While I return to all my creature comforts, and even my stresses, I can honestly say I will NEVER forget what I have seen here. From the horrible puddles of waste mixed with rain and garbage that I leapt over last night during the show, to the wild goats, cows, pigs, and chickens that vie for space and food with the people here, to the light in the eyes of the parents who watched their children smile, laugh, and dance in our show – I will never forget.
I will never forget that electricity, food, water, a job, a place to live – things that I have, and never even think of, are far off dreams for this nation. I will never forget the children who loved soooooooooooooo much to imitate our every move, their laughter at Jay’s “Michael Jackson”, of Gwen’s strange accent as she said “Bon Soir”, at the men who I grabbed to dance with me each show, and their utter amazement as I walked amongst them on my stilts. I will never forget the bright faces of the “animateurs” whose job it is to teach/amuse/council the children of these camps, or the impossibly generous and hard working people of the IRC, our host organization.
Haiti is a study of contrasts, of how we humans can survive so much more than we think we can. How we humans think we need so very much to be “happy”, when it is clear to me now that happiness is indeed an inside job. Because if these people – living in tents, filth, and sewage can be loving, generous, kind, compassion, well, then surely happiness isn’t found in things or money. I will never, ever, ever forget this lesson – I will never allow these images to leave my brain.
To the brave, bold, vibrant Haitian people, I say the poem that Nelson Mandela found comfort in during his imprisonment – “Invictus”, which means unconquerable.
“Out of the night that covers me
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeoning of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain on my soul” William Ernest Henley
PEOPLE OF HAITI CONTINUE TO BE UNBOWED!!!!!!!!!!!!
For this project CWB is being hosted by the IRC who is generously providing accommodation and logistics during our visit.
Special thanks to our sponsors!
This project was possible thanks to contributions
from the Picnic Theatre Company benefit
performances (Washington, DC) and Vanessa
and Adrien de Bassompierre’s wedding registry gift to CWB.