Saturday, May 08, 2010

After the quake: Faith, Worship and Healing in Haiti

Haitian's are people of intense faith, practicing traditions in Roman Catholicism and/or Vodou. It is no surprise then, that the earthquake of January 12th would hardly "break" Haitian people. Indeed, the tragedy that killed so many was devastating in scope and magnitude, but for the survivors left with the remains, the spirit of hope, thankfulness, and renewal reigns supreme.

As I nursed a migrane headache in my tent, trying to get some decent sleep (the night the air-conditioner broke down and mosquitos hovered about), I heard the most uplifting singing in the distance. Our sleeping tent was situated right next door to the medical wards, also in tents. The singing became progressively louder as it seemed more people had joined in the singing.

I was immediately struck with a feeling of needing to be as close to the people singing as possible. I jumped out of my cot, and darted off in the darkness, to the patient (Med/Surg) ward where the singing had been coming from. Upon entering the ward, I felt something intensely spiritual...almost like the presence of God. I was immediately drawn to the center of the large ward, (poto mitan la), and allow myself to be enveloped by the energy of over nearly 80 patients singing inspirational songs of hope, courage and thankfulness. A preacher led the songs and prayers , walking about the large ward, offering blessings, prayers and encouraging everyone to sing loudly and proudly. This was a deeply moving experience for me. It was uplifting, sad, courageous, inspiring, happy and life affirming all at at the same time. I felt like I was home. These injured people are my family, my blood. It was Thanksgiving...

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