Now…and Then

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In Port-au-Prince the next day, Kathleen and Catherine have the opportunity to see the small groups—with kids, teenagers, and adults—in action, to hear which technique has been most helpful to each person, to feel the closeness that develops over the weeks of regular meetings.

Then, to their surprise, there is a ceremony: Linda speaks with passionate gratitude about Don deLaski’s kindness and generosity, and I present a plaque in his honor to be hung on the wall of The Center for Mind-Body Medicine’s Port-au-Prince office. After, all of us –the Port-au-Prince leadership team, forty people who’ve come for groups, and assorted friends and family—sit down for a skit.

The play of course is in Kreyole but even without Regine’s skillful translation the message is pretty clear. As played by Spencer, a large, committed, and very funny accountant, I am deeply moved by the 2010 earthquake, determined to see if we can be of help. Spencer’s got my passion and perseverance down, and also, hilariously, the way I, increasingly hard of hearing, punctuate my queries with “What?” Edris, in a dark suit and tie, plays Don, miraculously transformed from a 25-year-old black Haitian to a kindly 75-year-old white American man. “Don” agrees that we have to help, and that he will give us the money to make it happen. “I” call Clairetida, who is playing Amy, and Jennifer, who is doing Lee-Ann, to move things along. They are pitch perfect too, “Amy” all heart, “Lee-Ann” ready to make it happen. It’s an “origin story”.

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After the applause dies down, there is, of course, dancing. A performance by young children, with Linda’s two girls doing solos, then three of the nursing students who are in our group, and then all of us, children and adults, Haitians and Americans.

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