As Sara and I prepare to move back to the US next week, leaving behind in Haiti a year’s worth of work, challenge, periodic victory and sometimes defeat, it’s a time for me to reflect, reminisce, think about where I’ve been over the past year, in an effort to figure out where I am going in the one to come.
In the reflective spirit of Lent* (which begins tomorrow), I thought that over the next week I’d revisit some of my earliest posts to the blog, remembering the lessons learned, even the questions left unanswered.
So–since I’m busy packing up one life and moving into another, and since, at the blog’s beginning, most of you weren’t reading yet, I’ll resurrect the first post below and give you a glimpse of how it all got started 4 months ago:
So–the old blog is reincarnated here under a new name! It is, indeed, the Vietnam version “reinvented” from yet another edgy location–this time Haiti, where a cholera epidemic has spread to Port-au-Prince–my home for the next couple of years.
But before I address the big issues faced here on the western half of Hispaniola, I should clarify why I’ve chosen this new title. For my less geeky readers, an “event horizon” is the edge of a black hole, a boundary in the space/time continuum beyond which no light can escape—in many ways, a point of no return. You’ve taken physics; you know this; you’ve just forgotten.
Bottom line–it seems to me, that the far-away places Sara and I have been over the last couple of years have formed a kind of “event horizon” in my mind–taking me to the outer limits of my own comfort zone, shaping new perspectives in me about both the world around me and about this time in my life–a bending of my personal space/time continuum, if you will—–mind-bending for me, at the very least.
However, Haiti itself offers a kind of event horizon–a comparison I first found when reading Paul Farmer’s book “The Uses of Haiti.” Farmer begins his chapter of the same name with the following epigraph by T. D. Allman:
Haiti is not simply one more of those tropical dictatorships where to rule is to steal, and headless bodies are found by the road. Haiti contorts time: It convolutes reason if you are lucky–and obliterates it if you are not. Haiti is to this hemisphere what black holes are to outer space. Venture there and you cross an event horizon. (After Baby Doc, 1989)
Wrap you brain around that statement and you may begin to see why I’ve renamed the blog–because this place, this location has forced me to rethink my beliefs, not only about myself, but also about big issues such as poverty and hunger–and disease, for god sake! We’re in the midst of a cholera epidemic!
But even without cholera sickening folks by the thousands, we had an earthquake here last January, a hurricane last week, and a million and a half people homeless in Port-au-Prince today.
Was the earthquake an event horizon for Port-au-Prince? Will cholera bend time and space so there’s no escaping the dis-ease that’s plagued this place for centuries?
Is there light for Haiti?
Now, fast-forward 4 months.
Do you think the blog is fulfilling its mission so far?
And, even more importantly, if you have one, what task does your blog accomplish? What is its purpose? Tell us about it in the comments and leave a link. You might attract some new readers!
And don’t forget that tomorrow we’ll have our “Mid-Week Mindy,” tomorrow a reflection on Lent*. Mindy will be covering for me, answering questions, responding to comments.
* On the Christian calendar, tomrrow, Ash Wednesday, begins the season of Lent, 40 days of reflecting and fasting, leading up to Easter Sunday. For a beautiful mediation on the meaning of Lent, check out this post by my friend Jane over at PlaneJaner’s Journey.
Although I haven’t read your blog from the beginning of your stay in Haiti, from what I have read, you are fulfilling your mission. You project a thoughtful, clear and powerful voice.
Thanks, Renee! I think it’s doing okay!
And since you did not tell readers about your blog, I will. Renee’s is called “Life in the Boomer Lane”–an often hysterical, always thoughtful look at life from a generational perspecitve. If you haven’t read it, you should!!!!!
Your blog has educated me about Haiti far more than any news story. You have enabled me to care about a place on the planet that most folks would prefer to ignore. And I am already looking forward to your next event horizon posts, where ever life takes you!
Thank you, Mindy! I’m so glad to hear how the blog has affected you, and I have to admit, I’m kind of excited about the next adventure, also!
I’m glad you are revisiting old blog posts, since I find it hard to go back and catch up on the blogs I love the most. I think you have fulfilled your mission and will continue to do so wherever your travels take you. As for my own blog, I don’t know that I had a clear mission on it, other than trying to understand my world. So, mission not accomplished?
I’d say your Life Without Tenure blog definitely has a mission, but “trying to understand [your] world” is a great mission/purpose.
But I know what you mean about reading old posts to blogs–who has the time? I’m hoping to sort and highlight the ones that are worth reading and remembering.
Hope your day is going well, Lisa!
I think you blog has provided information and viewpoints not presented elsewhere…in doing so you have been true to the mission of your blog in my humble opinion…I enjoy reading posts because of your perspective so the topic though important is not as important as the person.
This is a really interesting perspecitve, Charles. I think I agree, but wouldn’t have thought to put it that way. Thanks for the clarity. That is what it’s about! Take care and have a good day, my friend.
Your posts about reali life in Haiti have been so very interesting to me–mainly because they are thoughtful and very human. I “feel” it. 🙂
Thanks for the shout out about the Lent post…
and, as far as “what task does my blog accomplish”…well…why did you have to ask that? Now I want to smell my armpits and rock back and forth and worry.
I don’t know if it has a task…
If I had to say one thing, though…I would hope that my blog/writing makes it apparent that oridnary life can be extraordinary. That God is everywhere, deeply within us, and in the faces of those we love, and those we don’t know…and that humor is just as important as hormones.
blessings on your packing…
I love your description of your blog, as it is so accurate–and one of all time FAVORITE! If you have not read Jane’s blog you really need to. She will make you laugh and laugh and laugh!
I especially like the part about humor being as important as hormones!
I will admit this. I had not read your first post/ mission statement until today. I joined your blog community a little later, but from the first visit to your site I have felt so encouraged by the attention and grace you’ve used to educated us about Haiti. You fulfill your mission everyday!
But you didn’t mention your blog! Tori’s blog, the Ramblings, is a MUST read if you want to laugh. It is down right hysterical–always–without fail! Read once and you’ll be hooked– I dare you!
I never took physics, Kathy (never took any science past Grade 8!)…I do love your blog, though!
I had a “mission” when I started writing my blog, but it changed and morphed into something else…now I really don’t have a mission, and I don’t mind, as long as people keep reading!
So true–as long as people keep reading! That’s really all that matters! Thanks for reminding us what it really is all about–readers–couldn’t agree with you more!!!!! Hope you have a great day, Wendy!
I think your blog can morph and change just like your life. I enjoy your blogs about Haiti but also the blogs where you ponder deeper emotions. I like your voice, no matter what the subject, so please keep writing about your experiences. Maybe your mission can be whatever is on your heart that day…
I have been wondering lately about my own blog, and will admit I’ve lost steam as I try to figure out a real job. It’s getting harder to justify spending time writing when I should be pounding the pavement!
I love the mission of writing whatever is on your heart–perfect! Please don’t give up on your blog! I think I speak for many others when I say how much I love it, Deanna. You are a wonderful writer, my friend!
I’m new to your blog, but I have read a few earlier posts and now some recent ones. First and foremost, I like your writing style. You speak about your life experiences and the things you see around you vividly and gracefully. That’s what makes me want to come back. As to my own blog, I want to be a good writer of articles as well as fiction, so it’s the place where some of my work can be found. I hope to entertain, but I always want there to be a sense that we are all in this life together and that we can get past our differences.
I’m so glad you are reading and finding my blog meaningful. I think it’s exciting that you write fiction–as well as creative non-fiction. It would be interesting to see how they feed one another creatively. I will run over and check out your blog. Thanks so much for telling us about it!
Kathryn, I read your blog knowing that I’ll be challenged, amused, appalled, motivated, uplifted, and sometimes all of those at once. So if that’s any part of your mission, well done indeed!
Oh, Bee, it’s so great to hear from you! I have been so busy with this move that I have not been over to Manofewords. How are things there? How are you?