Photo by: Paul Emanuel / City Soleil, Haiti.
Sorry. I've been in hiding lately. Not from anything or anyone, of course, but mainly from myself--my own emotions after returning from a land left raveled by nature, scorched and scathed by a world of uncertainty.
I don't know what happened, really, but upon returning, I felt the need to disconnect--to find myself again and live life upon a world in which I could call my own. Being in Haiti was tough. Mentally and physically, it left me charred to my core, reducing every bit of hope I had had for humanity to nothing more than dust--a mere fragment of a dream. There are moments in life when you find hope, when you see it in your eyes and you savour it for every thing it's worth. Then, sometimes, when the truth is so real--so true and trivial, there's no avoiding what horrible things may come. That's what it was like for me in Haiti. By the time I had left, I had lost hope for the people who continue to suffer. I saw too much to fathom, too little to hope--any longer.
It scared me. I spent nights sitting up in my tent wondering what was wrong with me. I wanted to cry but I couldn't. I wanted to scream, but didn't. The feeling of helplessness ripped away at the very fibre that made me whole. I no longer felt good at what I was doing. It got to the point when I couldn't shoot any longer--and for the last few days in Haiti, I kept my camera pointed down. There was nothing more I could shoot.
Returning home, friends would ask me how it went. I'd turn to them--and sometimes, I didn't have to say a word--for they had already known--just from the look in my eyes. Thank you, friends, for understanding.
I've spent days unpacking and re-packing, going over every little piece of equipment I had brought to Haiti and making sure it was still in tact. But in the midst of inspection, I realized that I needed to do the same to not just my equipment, but also to myself--to look deep into my very own soul and see if I am the same as I had left. In retrospect, I am not. I don't think I will ever be the same again.
Lately, I've been lost for words--not really knowing where to begin or even why. Taking deep breaths, I feel my chest convolving in disarray, my heart beating in disbelief that I am here, safe, fed, and sheltered. Sometimes it's guilt. Other times, I'm just truly thankful. There's an imbalance in me that can never be defined--nor can it be felt unless you've been there yourself.
Because every time I see a tent I am reminded of Haiti. When the rain falls, I think of them. When the sun rises, I pray for them. When the wind howls, I hear their cries.
Blogger Note: I am currently on foreign assignment in Kuwait City, Kuwait.