In 2013, I spend two weeks volunteering in Haiti. A colleague suggests writing a travel blog. Writing is not new to me. I have been an intermittent scribbler of poetry, short stories and personal journaling since childhood. Writing a blog is new to me. Intriguing, but fraught with some trepidation about publishing first-person reflections. Having churned out countless academic essays through university, and carefully crafted client-centered notes as a clinician, the word “I” has been practically obliterated from my written vocabulary. Dare I ramble on-line about what I think, or braver yet, how I feel?
Sharing perceptions of my first foray into a foreign country struggling in the aftermath of disaster with an invisible audience does feel vulnerable. Yet, the Haiti blog evolves into a lifeline to home, a forum for sharing the heightened perceptions of an Outlander visiting a strange and sometimes frightening place. Not speaking the national language renders me essentially mute for much of the trip. Quiet for stretches of unaccustomed time, and untethered from responsibilities, my thoughts turn inward. Mind lapses into daydreaming and reflection. I reconnect with a love of writing, streams of consciousness spilling on the page, soliloquies emerging from the back corners of my psyche. I bring to life with words my intense experience of Haiti, and in so doing begin to process past memories it evokes.
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA