Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Ravine World

If I were to make a list of what I'm currently stressed about, it would look something like
1. I have to grade 14 To Kill a Mockingbird papers, 5 pages each, and I don't know how.
2. What am I going to wear to chaperone prom this weekend? (oh yes, it's happening)
3. I am putting on a school play in 9 days.
4. I have to write, and then grade, finals for about 60 kids in 3 different classes.
5. I have a lot to do this summer, and I don't want to disappoint any friends or family members by missing things like, oh, wedding showers.
6. There is a rotating cast of about 15 students at all times in my mind, as I fret over their various current troubles- emotional, familial, grammatical.... 

These types of things make up a near-constant drone in my head, a neverending swarm of bees that occupy not quite the back burner, but like the middle burner, always trying to knock items off the to-do list, solve problems, strategize, maximize....

And then sometimes something stops me.

A Sunday ago I got out of the car at church and saw a friend standing at the end of the street. I've never gone down to the end of the street, so I went. Here was the view.
This is a large community living in a ravine, a (for now) dry river or creek bed. The land is probably free, likely because it isn't always there. How many people live in the area just captured by this photo? There are houses on top of houses, tents on roofs, laundry lines everywhere of course. This is exactly the kind of housing that succumbed to landslides in last January's earthquake- big domino-effect slides. You can see what the construction is like. Houses like these are the reason one of the first phrases of Kreyol I learned was "block tombe", as in "a concrete block fell on me", which was an oft-repeated phrase at the clinic where we did wound care the week of the earthquake.
I thought before I moved to Haiti that I only cared about my stupid to-do list because I was in America. I thought that would change- when I got away from Dallasworld, I'd be others-focused, shedding the nonessential fluff that takes all my energy, and I'd get down to the bottom of things.

But even here. I go about my days, I worry about grading papers and whether the internet will work long enough to get my vocab quiz ready......

and down the street, literally down the street,

they're living in the ravine.

There are billboards all around Port-au-Prince declaring that Jesus is returning on May 21st. It's almost certainly total crap. But secretly-
I really hope he does. Cause sometimes I'm just tired of myself.



  1. Katie (and Ben), you can build people a house, you can send money, food, clothing. All that is good. But.. you are building their minds and their hearts. Someday these people will be the ones to bring Haiti out of its current situation. Take heart, trust God.

  2. Oh. I get this. This wanting Jesus to come back...I'm marking my calendar!

    About the papers- have you already graded them? I would recommend making a rubric. Technically you want to do that beforehand so the students know what you expect, but even after the fact it makes for easier grading.

  3. K -

    I forget sometimes, but you are a really strong writer -- far better than most lawyers I know.

    Yes, I know it's an odd comment, but it's true.


  4. The last line of your post resonates with me right now. I am so tired of me too!! I love your honesty, your heart for others, and your spirit. Thanks for sharing it. You are a great writer. Love you!!

  5. Funny, I have had those same thoughts about May 21st.

    And the thought of grading papers makes me really glad that I picked nursing as a degree.



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