Sunday, July 26, 2009
In our house today, we are missing Heurese. She is a 30-year-old Haitian woman who lived with us for the past five months. Four days ago, she returned to Haiti. Despite the lavish life she was leading with us (relative to her life in Haiti with no running water, regular electricity, and much skimpier meals), she wanted to return to her home. And for good reasons: her 5-year-old daughter and her 3-year-old son.
Though Heurese came to the United States in December 2008 for heart surgery at Cleveland Clinic, she has not seen in her children in almost a year. Prior to surgery, her sick heart made her so weak that she was unable to care for her children. They lived with her mother in another town. We know there was a happy reunion in Port-au-Prince this past Saturday.
Heurese was fully recuperated from her heart surgery--the installation of an artificial valve that will last her the rest of her life. She has more energy than she has ever had in her adult life. She will need it to negotiate life as a poor person in Port-au-Prince. So much energy goes into activities like getting water, gathering fuel for cooking, washing clothes--all processes that are automated in the developed world.
It is amazing how fast humans can bond to each other. Heurese was a wonderful presence in our home. Intelligent, kind--a lovely person, who helped us a lot. We will think of her often and look forward to seeing her on future trips to Haiti.