Monday, June 10, 2013

Haitian Hair Handiwork

Cafuné (Brazilian Portuguese)
The act of tenderly running your fingers through someone’s hair.

I think I need to teach my girls this term Cafuné  as "tenderly" seems to be lost on them.  In fact, they were taking great delight in putting my removed hair follicles on their own heads and laughing at the color and texture difference.  When they play with my hair, I end up with 50-100 less hairs due to their aggressive pulling.  I am constantly saying in Creole, "Gentle please!" but of course, that lasts about ten seconds before it is forgotten.  

Some of you with healthy heads of hair might not recognize the extreme cost  this is for a thinning fine-haired middle-aged woman.  Most remarkable is when you understand my hair was "my thing" growing up.  I didn't care about a beautiful body or face nearly as much as  I coveted a beautiful head of hair.  I was constantly desiring the long straight locks of my Latino and Asian friends.  My nightmares as a child were that someone snuck into my room in the middle of the night and cut off my hair.   I woke up crying more than once due to this recurring dream.  

A few years ago I was shocked when looking at my high school yearbook and I noticed how incredibly long my hair was.  You see, if you had asked me in high school if I had long hair, I would have responded, "No, but I'm trying to grow it out."  Yet those yearbook photos aren't lying.  Remember, these were before the days of Photoshop and hair extensions.  And they most certainly reveal my hair almost reached my waist.

So why do I let these girls abscond with my precious and few remaining hair strands?  Simply because these girls are worth so much more than the hairs on my head.  I have no desire to hinder their love and joy - so when they want to run their fingers through my hair in attempts to make me into a Haitian beauty, I'm not going to stop them.    Most of you know the previous trauma of their lives, so I love letting them "be girls," even at the expense of my scalp.

Thought you might enjoy a few photos of their most recent handiwork- and I do mean HAND-iwork.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A Hearing, Beating, Praising, Passionate Heart in Haiti

Before I even emerged out of the airport, the sweat was dripping down my back.  Actually, the more accurate description would be that it was rushing in waterfall fashion down every nook, cranny, crevice and curve of my backside and frontside. 
But here is a snippet why neither heat or humidity will deter me.  And why a salad-loving  woman will put up with rice and potato crisps two times a day, six days in a row:

Interviewed 18 people on Saturday for micro-loans and tomorrow a full day ahead with 30 slotted in. The little I can say at this hour of the morning with an early wakeup time soon to follow is this:

 God is at work in Haiti. 

Amazed and discipled by the people here who give testimonies that many Americans would place in the category of hardships. 

One woman shared about losing her baby in the womb, but she still had reason to praise God because He spared her life. Another summed up the sentiments of many with: "If I am living, I can thank God." 

Reminds me of hearing a Haitian pastor declare shortly after the January 2010 quake: "No famine, hurricane, earthquake or disaster can keep me from praising God. Even when I sleep, my heart will beat out its praises to God."