Intentions for Haitian Orphanage

Winter '06
After my post reflecting on the New Year and some of my intentions with the hoop, I too have found several beautiful opportunities have come my way that seem to respond to some of those intentions. I will be presenting a hoop seminar at the National Wellness Conference this summer. I think this will be a great context to explore the healing benefits of this revolutionary movement. Not only will I be able to lead hoop workshops nearly every day of the five day conference, I will also be able to take other creative workshops in the healing arts.

The second opportunity is a chance to return to Haiti to visit orphanages in Port au prince. As I mentioned in another post, I have imagined specifically going to orphanages to take magical instruments of joy for many years now, but it hasn’t quite manifested before now. Two years ago, I went to a school in a rural mountain town in Haiti to visit and learn about a re-forestation project. During that visit, the hoops were featured in a school assembly with drumming and singing. These children are the only folks I’ve met who had never seen a “hula” hoop before. They were thrilled. So much so that the minister’s mother was a little disturbed by how moved and joyous everyone was. That much excitement is usually reserved for the divine spirit. Now that huge portions of Haiti are Christian, there is only one god who should be moving folks in such a charismatic way. However, the minister himself was endlessly thankful for the gift of the hoops for the smiles brought to the children and teachers there. In that trip, I had some profound realizations about the world, myself and the power of the hoop to cross countless boundaries.

So, I feel blessed, or called. But I definitely feel a little heaviness. While the landscape of Haiti is exquisite with beautiful mountains rolling into the sea, the land does not produce what the people need to sustain themselves. The city is especially depressed and depressing. Port au Prince is kind of scary and an orphanage is a whole new realm in reality. I haven’t even been to an orphanage here in the states. I’ve read books about orphanages in Haiti and Africa and how children are left there because their parents are too sick with HIV to care for them or have passed. But despite the memories that overloaded the senses, I will return. Sometimes I wonder why my path takes me to Haiti, the poorest country in the western hemisphere, instead of a grand city where I might find great thrift stores and bumpin’ music. But I suppose I must keep walking the path? As I understand it, this trip is otherwise focused on providing health care. I am still researching the ins and outs of the organization, but I promise we are not going to ‘convert’ anyone (well except to hooping maybe.)

I don’t have much to offer in the ways of medicine or restructuring of a collapsed society, but I have accepted that my gifts have come in the form of spreading joy, bliss, smiles. This hoop movement is healing for many in a variety of ways. For an American woman, the hoop may increase self esteem, provide therapy for a stiffened body or even heal sexual blockage or wounds. But for a young child who lives in a dangerous and unsettling environment and has been separated from the family, the hoop may bring relief, brief joy, or a temporary lightness of being. The hoop’s magic is multi-layered and real. My intention is to return to Haiti to offer a gift of laughter and love for kids that may not experience so much of that. And I may learn that I am wrong in my assumptions. Kids are incredibly resilient and amazing. This is the life they have and they generally remain playful despite our expectations. Perhaps the orphans have it the best in this society because they are living in a place where they are certain to be fed and educated.

I will certainly be taking at least 100ft of tubing and supplies for hoops and would be open to transporting other fun or helpful things that folks might desire to offer. I will contact the health mission to see what could be useful if anyone feels compelled to donate. In my dreams, Julah arrived to the orphanages with a trunk filled with magic, a mind full of stories and a heart full of warmth. Fun fabric accents, pixie dust, other circus toys, LOTS of HOOPS, hope & stories of sisterhood.

Peace & love