I've been training a team of four teacher trainers and two agronomists to replicate a 5-day training that I've designed for AMURT called “Creating My Community”. After doing five days of “pre-training” with them, we are now training a larger group of almost 40 participants.
By this time next week, my plan is to have given two 5-day trainings; trained over 40 teacher-trainers, community animators, and agronomists from three organisations and five sites; and coached three teams on their projects using permaculture design. It's been a full few weeks.
One of the little girls was over at our apartment and was hungry; in that moment, I struggled with the fact that I have food, usually three times a day.
I remember a friend's story about two little boys. One of them said to the other “We are all One” and the other said “Yes, but why are we wearing different shoes?” Being with that little girl, I struggled with how different our circumstances were. We have very different shoes. I struggled with my own belief that we are all One.
What stands out for me in these last two weeks in Haiti is the people. I'm reminded that, in any life circumstance, we have choice in how we live and how we meet the world. Dr. Viktor Frankl, a psychiatrist who survived the Holocaust, wrote about how people found freedom, choice and meaning even in the concentration camps. He wrote about men in the camps who walked around comforting others and gave away their last pieces of bread. I've met people like this here; to me they are everyday heros.
I had expected that the language difference (me speaking French and not Creole) would be a challenge for me in giving trainings and facilitating groups here. I accepted that this would be a learning edge for me, which would push me to find new and creative ways to facilitate people's learning process.
It's 5:50am and I've been awake since 4am, resting and relaxing on my mattress under the mosquito net and listening to the sounds of the morning – first the roosters and dogs, then the people and motorised vehicles. At 5:18am it was getting light outside and my skin was already feeling a bit sticky. I feel happy and grounded.
I have deep gratitude in my heart to all of you for supporting me with my initiative in Haiti and for helping to make this possible through your donations, helping to spread the word, and sending positive energy. As I prepare for this trip, I have a sense of being in touch with the oneness of our humanity.
We're excited to announce that the Permaculture Institute of Eastern Ontario, in collaboration with Sustainable Living Ottawa East (SLOE), will host an introductory course and an 84-hour "Permaculture Design Course" in Ottawa in 2011. Applying the permaculture ethic of people care, we're doing our best to make both courses accessible to a wider audience and to benefit the larger community.
My first trip to Haiti last May was a journey of stark contrasts; the best I could do was breathe deeply, and bring my heart and mind fully to the work at hand. I am noticing the contrasts again today. We've raised over $8300 for my volunteer projects in Haiti (as of January 28). I am in awe that we're $3000 over my original fundraising goal and that support has continued to flow. And, as I read about Haiti tonight, I realise the enormity and scale of transformation that is needed. In the same breath, I am present with my gratitude and my sorrow.