Friday, November 9, 2012



That words is... nonexistent... here at Kay Jezi Mari. I've been struggling a little with this fact for the last couple months as I think anyone would. And it is one of the challenges that I never thought of when signing up to live "in community."

Sr. Pat and Laurie, the 3rd volunteer  
The sisters and the volunteers I live with ARE becoming family. Here at Kay Jezi Mari we share chores and we each have a night to cook dinner. Every night someone leads reflection and prepares the dog food. Our staff is just our extended family as we laugh and joke and gossip and love together. When Sr. Pat loses her phone we all hunt it down. Laurie shares adorable pictures of her grandchildren trick-or-treating (best Mario and ninja I've ever seen!).

Aileen and I - well, we can be goofy or lazy or frustrated together.   Like sisters would be. 
Using some magical Chinese burning stick to get rid of her headache.
And so I don't really mind that these people see me when I am greeting the world way too early for anyone's good (the roosters here start to crow at 4am). Or that they have heard every Skype conversation (and I've probably heard most of theirs). Or that... well... we ALL know when someone's bowels aren't exactly cooperating...

And then we have visitors.

And so we share our community with people from all over the United States, who come here for all types of work, and who stay anywhere from one night to one month. And they start out as strangers who have to put up with Aileen and mine's weird singing (Sometimes we play this game where she makes up a song and I watch her mouth and try to match her) or our not-so-gourmet cooking (Cornflakes and hotdogs is a perfectly acceptable dinner - not sure why more people don't agree with that) or our frequent run-ins with Haitian culture and our miscommunications and our mistakes that we are still making. And that is where the lack of privacy.... is hard.

But our visitors are pretty awesome people and they keep life here exciting and no matter how many times we consult the giant calendar on the wall of who is coming when, we still will be surprised that, "Oh, she IS coming tomorrow - better go make the beds!"

So let me introduce you to some of the people who have come in and out of our house and Gros-Morne in the last few months:

Sr. Marilyn Lacey. She is a Sister of Mercy who has spent many years working with refugees. She started a fantastic program called Mercy Beyond Borders that is helping educate girls in South Sudan and now here in Gros-Morne! She has also hugged the Dalai Lama.
On the right: Sr. Marilyn Lacey. You must check out her blog.
 Currently there is a puppeteer from Austin, Texas who is putting on shows for the schoolchildren. Back in the 1960s he spent a year teaching English in Port-au-Prince. He studied in France, traveled all over, and even braved a tap-tap from Santo Domingo to Gros-Morne.

Don the puppeteer.
Usually the children have no idea what to think, but then they start yelling for Don to make the puppets dance some more!

This is Janet, a member of the medical group Global Health Ministries. They  have spent the week setting up clinics in nearby rural towns. They have seen about 100-200 people each day.

Aileen and I have worked all week with the Global Health Ministries group. I mostly registered people and helped them calculate their age or what year they were born, and worked in the pharmacy giving people instructions on how to take their medicine.

 This is what Aileen did all week:
 Just kidding. She also cried:
Yep. Barak was helping me capture the moment.
 She cried after seeing the best picture of my amateur-photographer career:
Aileen was obsessed with this lovely lady. So obsessed that I'm really not joking when I say she cried.
Nick working hard with Boss Fritznel
Okay, let's get back on track: This is Nick, a retired carpenter who taught some of our local "boss" construction workers how to build a wooden platform for a nearby preschool. He also assembled stairs for our artists' workshop, fixed up our guest house, and sanded many of our too-big doors. He makes great Cuban sandwiches and washed our dishes every night.


We've had even more visitors than listed above  - engineers, a nurse, a Haitian student, teachers, other RJMs who work with artists or run discernment workshops for local women - and my small blog cannot do justice to the work that they do. And we just picked up a Sister of Mercy who spent 27 years in South Africa!

So I hope this gives you a glimpse of life here, very much "in community." Even though there will always be a line of dishes to be washed, clutter to be organized, and you will never find out who put the water container back in the fridge without refilling it... it's a fun and interesting way to live. Also, I got to hug a lady that hugged the Dalai Lama. One degree of separation!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you are having an amazing experience! Great post!