In French, the verbs for crying (pleurer) and raining (pleuvoir) seem pretty close - je pleure (I'm crying) and il pleut (it's raining). I've also often wondered why the weather is preceded by "il" (he) and not "elle" (she). A few weeks before our trip, I started using the verb pleuvoir, saying "je pleut", when I cry. I thought this was kind of a quirky thing to say, the kind of mistake an anglophone would make - I'm raining :) - and I found it fun and silly, turning my tears into smiles.
One night in Haiti, I was crying and as I stepped out into the rain, I had a clear sense that I was raining and crying with the Earth. Je pleuvais et Elle pleuvait aussi. The rain from my eyes and the rain from the sky helped cleanse my heart, my being and spirit. I was raining and crying for much bigger things than myself.
Each time we sit down for a meal and take a moment to give thanks for our food, I want to rain; I can feel a deep sadness stirring from within me, in my heart (and maybe even from the heart of the Earth). As we left a camp this week, I was struck by the reality that we were not in walking distance to any market. I only saw two food vendors in this camp – one had enough food on his table to feed maybe 20 families (in a camp of thousands?) and the other had maybe 15 mangos on her table. Maybe there are other vendors I didn't see, or maybe there is still food aid that I'm unaware of; all I can say is that I can't imagine how I would survive in such conditions. I can still feel the RAIN stirring in me as I write this...
Back in the US (or maybe it was Canada), at the airport, I filled up a water bottle from a fountain. I usually grumble to myself when I drink water straight from the tap – I'm not a huge fan of the chemicals that go into our water treatment, which also go into our bodies and rivers. However, this time it hit me - wow, THIS IS CLEAN WATER. WOW. THIS IS FREE. EVEN POOR PEOPLE HERE CAN GET CLEAN WATER. And then I realised – WE FLUSH OUR TOILETS WITH THIS STUFF. We wash our cars with this stuff. This is seriously f*cked up, say my jackals (NVC character for the inner critic and judge).
Clean water and food, health and education, respect and equality, integrity and wholeness, care for people and the Earth - all of these are so incredibly precious to me, says my giraffe (NVC character for the inner listener and speaker with a compassionate heart). This trip helped me understand with greater intricacy and complexity, at the scale of a nation (rather than village- or global-scale), the challenges we face collectively around environmental destruction, poverty, human rights, food insecurity, globalisation, and on and on.