News from the Asylum

 I don’t know how to tell you this, but I have some crazy news . . .

Sara and I are leaving Haiti— as in “permanently,” as in “forever.”

I’m just as stunned by this as you are, and frankly it seems hard to believe.   But Sara’s NGO is doing what a number of organizations are doing in Haiti—

They’re scaling back—


Because of funding shortfalls—

The fact of the matter is, merely a fraction of the dollars pledged toward the Haitian relief effort just after the earthquake have been delivered to NGOs, because, in reality, donors are reluctant to hand over funds to a country whose political future is uncertain, a country that has a history of corrupt leadership, presidents who funnel dollars into their own deep pockets rather than passing them along to citizens in need. 


You might wonder what this has to do with Sara and me—————

Quite frankly, Sara is a key disaster response resource for her NGO, especially in terms of her ability to drop into the aftermath of a disaster and get projects moving.  She launched the organization’s effort in Afghanistan after the Taliban fell in 2002 and directed its response to the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia. 

More recently, she’s worked a year in Vietnam and another in Haiti, without more than 5 consecutive days at home—an effort that has drained and exhausted her.  She needs a break.  She needs to rest.  

And the organization is smart to recognize this.


Sara will have a three-month sabbatical before being reassigned.  This means Spring at home in Lexington—a lovely time of year to be in Kentucky.  And though I’m terribly sad to leave Haiti when there’s so much more of the country to explore and write about, I believe this change will ultimately benefit Sara and her ability to serve more successfully in the future.



We truly don’t know where we will be headed in another 3 months.  Before the earthquake in Haiti, her NGO had planned to send Sara to South Africa.  I suspect that could actually happen this summer, unless in the next several months there’s a massive disaster in another part of the world.


So, how will this affect the blog—a blog that has largely been about Haiti?

Well, it’s ironic that I began shifting the blog’s focus slightly  even before knowing this larger change was coming—addressing the “event horizon” that is my past, while promising to not ignore the “event horizon” that is Haiti.

It could be that I shouldn’t have made that promise.  Certainly, I don’t plan to ignore Haiti even now, but it inevitably won’t be a part of my day-to-day experience.  Inevitably the focus will shift toward which ever country we live in next.

In the meantime, I intend to address the “event horizon” that was “then”—my personal past, whose story, I think, needs to be told.

Actually, going home to Kentucky will better equip me to research my mental health history—to do it in a way I couldn’t if I were in Haiti.  It will give me actual access to boxes and boxes of journals, video-taped therapy sessions, and medical records I already have on hand.

In practical, blogging terms, I suspect this may mean fewer posts and/or briefer posts over the next several weeks, as we pack up our lives here in Haiti and get resettled in Kentucky.  After that, I intend to spend the Spring exploring my past and sharing it here on the blog.

So pad your walls.

Things could get crazy around here.

This insane story’s just beggin’ to be told.

42 thoughts on “News from the Asylum

  1. Wow, Kathy, that is major news! Although, given what has been going on in Haiti, not totally unexpected. It sounds like Sara really needs a long break, but I’m sure that it must be frustrating for her to leave Haiti with her work there unfinished. Good luck with your move back home!

    I love the post title!!!


    • I’m still in a fog from receiving this news. I just can’t believe it’s happening. Didn’t quite realize just how much I loved this little island and our home here until it comes time to go.

      Glad you like the title. I got a kick out of it myself.


    • So true, Renee! So true! In some ways this may be a blessing in disguise for me. I don’t really want to go home, but I think it will do both Sara and me a world of good–no punn intended. Thanks, as always, for your words of encouragement——–


  2. Kathy,

    Great post as always. In a purely selfish way, I’m glad you’re coming home. Looking forward to coffee, catchup, and to meeting Sara. Safe journey to the bluegrass.


  3. Wow! HUGE news! While I’m thrilled to have you back in the neighborhood, I’m so sorry you guys have to deal with such a disruption in your lives as suddenly moving. I hope Sara is doing okay; she’s put in so much time and energy into that project, and I’m sure she thought things would end differently. A three month sabbatical is AMAZING! Maybe you guys can do some fun travel together.
    South Africa…I’m abstaining from commenting on that irony.
    Sending you love! Can’t wait to hug ya and share some Pazzos pretzels.


  4. Hi Kathryn,

    I’ve been reading your blog on and off and just saw your comment on Lisa’s blog about your possible move to Pretoria. I moved to Johannesburg 7 months ago and have been having a great living here and blogging about it. I visit Pretoria frequently and I think it’s a great town. I’ll be following you from now on to see what happens. Maybe we can do some tag-team blogging about expat life in Gauteng Province!

    Good luck with the move,


    • Wow, Heather, I’m so glad to meet you! How great it would be to know someone there and would love do tag-team with you. We really could end up almost anywhere on the planet, but precluding a major disaster in the next couple of month, Pretoria is a real possibility–more of one than any other location we can point to. Thanks for reading and I will check out your blog!


  5. What a big move for you & Sara, but maybe just the move you needed to help piece together your past! No matter where you two land, I’m sure your journey & insight will keep us reading 🙂


  6. Kathy, I am just so thrilled for you. Fate is such a funny creature, that it should open a door for you the moment you decide to seize an opportunity that has been nagging at you. Good for you. Carpe Diem as much as you can.

    I’m happy, too, for Sara. She has certainly earned some time to decompress.

    Looking forward to reading all about the next chapter in your lives.


    • Carpe Diem, indeed! The irony is incredible. Sometimes I love life so much, I can hardly stand it. And, yes, that God Sara will get some rest. She needs it!

      Thanks for reading, Maura. Enjoy your Thursday!


  7. Wow, Kathy – big news indeed! Gosh. I’m sure it’ll take a while to sink in, but it sounds like just what you both need. And your blog will continue to be what it is – a genuine Kathy-account of life wherever you are. And your proposed new focus on you and your dad will weave perfectly into that.
    Happy packing and moving, and big hugs from chilly London
    Sunshine xx


    • I love the notion of my blog as a “genuine Kathy account of life wherever [I am]”– You put it perfectly, Sunshine. Thank you.

      And, as always, thanks for reading, and congratulations on your new job! Hugs to you too——-


  8. Wow! Wow! Wow! Safe travels back to Kentucky and we’ll “see” you again when you get settled. you’ll be just in time for pollen season! 🙂


    • Fortunately, I don’t have allergies, but Sara does, so that may not be good. Inevitably, I’ll still post as often as possible, just shorter, lighter pieces. I’m kind of obsessed with the blog——— Thanks for reading!


  9. Good luck with the travels and all. I’m sure the event horizons coming up will be just as interesting as the ones you leave behind. All the best!


  10. Wow! This sounds like some major cogs in the universe are falling into place for you and Sara– especially so soon after you posted about getting started on your memoirs. Coincidence? I think not! 😉

    All the best with the move back to Kentucky for the interim. I loathe moving, so I’ll be crossing my fingers for a smooth and easy transition for the two of you. Cheers!


    • Couldn’t agree with you more, Dana–defintitely not coincidence. I think it’s all for the best and we will love the journey, wherever it takes us. Enjoy the rest of your Thursday—————


  11. What exciting news–especially if you are holding your hands open. 🙂
    I don’t believe in coincidences, but see God’s hands all over this…
    I know things will be hectic and crazy for you as you transition, but I pray you will just…fly gloriously to face your past, and your future.



    • I love hearing that reminder to keep my hand open–so important to be open and receptive–but not passive. I don’t believe in coincidence either–it all works together for good–there’s a purpose, a big purpose, as long as we remain open and willing. Thanks, Jane–thanks so much!


  12. I hope you have a wonderfully relaxing spring back in Kentucky. It will be interesting to see where ya’ll are headed next. If you slow down on the blogging, that is totally understandable. Relax, unwind, and de-stress for a bit. I am sure you both greatly need and deserve a good long rest. 🙂


    • I think it will be exciting to see how this all plays out–and God knows Sara needs the break–and I need her to have a break! I likely won’t slow down much–too obsessed–just want folks to know if I do slack a bit, it things get crazy, it’s only the moving that’s in the way. I love blogging–I really do!


  13. Wow… clearly you had no idea this was coming. But you have a very positive attitude about the sudden change in your lives. I’m sure this will turn out to be good for both of you. Enjoy the break. Enjoy home.


    • Yes, Marianne–who am I to say what should or shouldn’t happen. If I believe I came to Haiti for a reason, I have to likewise believe there is a reason I need to move on–painful as it is. Hope you’re having a good weekend——————————


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