Ayiti Resurrect - With the Elders, Guided by the Ancestors
I still remember the first time my charge as a healer became part of my trip to Ayiti. I was meeting the core collective (Angelique, Beatrice & Naima) in Brooklyn. When I first sent them my information, I mentioned my doula work and knowledge of womyn's reproductive system but mentally had become focused on how I would translate my skills with plaster and gauze to make casts. At the meeting in Brooklyn, the health and wellness clinic was spoken about. I had gotten my first attunement in reiki and shared with the group that I was available to offer that as a service. I remember that another sister was going to offer that service but became unavailable for the trip, so my healing abilities were god-sent.
To be honest, even after this conversation, it didn't register for me the magnitude of work that I would be doing while out there. I wasn't present to it until the unfolding of my path in Ayiti. As I mentioned in an earlier post, my plaster was confiscated at the airport. I was upset by this, feeling that I had arrived in Ayiti and was not going to be able to contribute the way I wanted to. I still felt reluctant to do hands on healing work. Despite this, the environment and energy that existed in my delegation helped me embrace my charge.
In my life, I help alleviate muscle tension for folks I know with my hands via massage and more recently reiki. On the last day before our workshops began, I remember walking into the hotel and was told that Hyacinth had come with them from Cormier for a massage from me. I was surprised that my team was already so confident in my skills as a healer when I had my doubts. Hyacinth Judith Laratte is an elder in Cormier. Her ethnic background was Jamaican and she has been living in Ayiti for the last 16 years. She was my co-facilitator and was very excited to meet me. She is one of the warmest people I've met in life. With the knowledge she has from having worked with Save the Children and educating herself with books, she serves as a healer in her community, especially for the womyn. She had attended 4 births in Cormier and womyn often come to her with concerns and questions. Our first meeting to talk about our work together for the delegation was awesome - she was just as excited to meet me. I was honored by the way she listened and spoke with me. She treated me as an authority on the subject we both were engaged in - womyn's reproductive health. It was the first glimmer I got at what was coming for me.
I gave her a massage and was able to help some of her discomforts. I was able to help change her energy and she felt so good when I was done. I looked at my hands and began to realize truly the power I had in them.
Monday morning, the health and wellness clinic was under way. I was the youngest of the healers at 26 years old; all the others were well over 30s, most in their 50s and 60s. I felt intimidated by this but set out to do my work as it was intended. These were my partners for the 3 mornings:
Dr. Robert Francois: Plant Medicine and Massage, Facilitator of Herbal Medicine Walk
Madame Wilner: Plant Medicine and Massage, Facilitator of Herbal Medicine Walk
Hyacinth Judith Laratte: Reproductive and Women’s Health
Dubois “Pastor” Edmin: Nurse and Plant Medicine Specialist
Iya Anoa: Reflexology, Reproductive and Women’s Health - Breastfeeding
That first morning, I saw about 10 folks. Majority were womyn and a couple were pregnant womyn. I began to feel present to my work as I massaged the lower backs of the pregnant womyn - a common discomfort for pregnant womyn. Hyacinth translated for me and also spoke with folks about what was going on with them. Together, her and I provided immediate relief for them and referred them to Dr. Robert, Madam Wilner and Pastor for long term relief with their knowledge of plant medicine. I couldn't communicate with them due to my language barrier but I felt a deep sense of appreciation and acknowledgment for our respective work. The next mornings, our work became seamless. Iya Anoa joined us with reflexology and her, Hyacinth and myself worked as a team.
It was quite extraordinary, magical even, to work with Iya Anoa in tandem. We had an unspoken way of communicating. We would know with our hands what was going on with our folks and before she would say anything, when a pressure point she touched released energy, I felt it. She was also able to assist a young mother with her breastfeeding while I gave the infant a belly massage. Hyacinth would also speak to womyn about their health and provide advice as well. It wasn't until the last day that I began to truly feel the power of what I was doing.
That day, I came in with no doubts, completely present. I cleaned my space intentfully, meditated and prepared for the day. That morning was slower than the rest but the work was still powerful. I did a lot more reiki that day and was able to intuitively ask what was going on emotionally with folks. One brother was really anxious and was short of breath. As I massaged him and did reiki, I felt the impulse to repeat a mantra in my mind, "You are okay. You are safe." I communicated that to Hyacinth and asked her to talk to him a bit after he expressed his desire to speak. I found out that I was right on - he had anxieties around his education and emotions he was holding from the earthquake.
I felt so connected. I felt grounded in my purpose as a healer. My gratitude for the elders I worked with is insurmountable. They respected my skills and I was their equal; never once did I feel inferior or as though my age had anything to do with my healing abilities. We worked so seamlessly together; it felt like we were communicating a lot of the time without words. Divinely guided by my ancestors on an island shared by two countries close to my heart, my doubts about my charge have melted away. I was able to serve folks on a level I had not planned for but did with all the faith in the Universe that my heart contains.