Two weeks ago I got my first case of “Haitian Happiness” though I was thinking and feeling many things, happy was definitely not on that list. I must say that I have been somewhat expecting to get sick and knew it would only be a matter of time considering the mass amounts of street food that I have been consuming. It may also have been due to me drinking some juice that had ice that was from the local water… but either way I was very, very sick all Friday morning. Our neighbor Madame Jimmy came over while I was having my episode and she came back with limes that she rubbed on my chest and had me smell and also a necklace that had cut limes and a clove of garlic strung through it. I felt like I was being initiated into some secret voodoo vampire hunting club, but the limes did help my nausea a bit. It wasn’t until I got a shot though that I was finally able to keep things down and in. After that I was finally able to relax and i slept for the better part of the day and drank large amounts of liquids. Even though I was extremely sick I haven’t been scared away from eating the food, the next day actually, and almost everyday after for that matter, I bought lunch from the lady down the street.
Last week was my nineteenth birthday and was celebrated Haitian style. I woke up and went to the market with Madame Jimmy and bought Soledad her birthday present which was school shoes. In Haiti in order to for anyone to attend school you must have a uniform and shoes, her family was able to afford the uniform but didn't have enough money to buy shoes—that was the only reason she hasn’t gone to school and she celebrated her twelfth birthday along with me. Not getting an education because of lack of money to buy the needed clothing is the case for the majority of kids in Haiti. Madame Jimmy bought the necessary ingredients for the meal she was planning to cook for us and from when we returned in the morning till about four in the afternoon she was cooking the amazing dinner. Soledad came over and she was looking and feeling fabulous. When she came in I was listening to my head phones and she wanted to see what they were all about, after she put them on she started rockin’ out and they stayed on her head for a while, I actually had to pull them off of her head a few times. The whole time the girl was all over the place! She cracks me up, she has the craziest facial expressions when she’s doing things and she would randomly start talking reaaally loud because she had the head phones turned on so high. She really is a funsize dark chocolate version of me. We ate dinner, cut the cake and she was so excited to open up her gifts. She was all smiles and I was so happy that we spent our birthday together. When we walked her home after we were all done a bunch of the kids in the neighborhood sang us happy birthday—it was such a special birthday for many little reasons like that. In the evening my friends from All Hands took me out and celebrated with me, twas a great ending to my day.
Four days ago we received a baby girl who was on the brink of starvation and tested positive for HIV/AIDS. We tried to take her to the local clinics but everywhere we went would not except her because of the state she was in. The only option we had was to take her home and do what we could for her, and that's what we did. She would not eat or drink anything voluntarily and after putting a feeding tube in her, her body rejected everything that we tried to supply her with. It is impossible to convey the depths of my despair and hopelessness that consumed me these past couple days coming to terms with not having the power to do anything but watch while death slowly took her in front of my eyes. She spent her last days on earth in my arms with me doing all that was in my power to do, and that was giving her my love and affection. She was only on this planet for a year, and in my life for a few days of that, but she changed me. Unlike anything else. She was an angel sent just for me to teach me powerful life lessons that i could have only experienced through the days that we spent together. Tonight i look up at the sky and find myself not seeing stars but seeing her in Allahs hands dancing with her fellow angels. I thank God for you my Magarline, two nights ago you entered Paradise, but you live on on earth through my heart and spirit.