In the summer of 2012, the idea behind Mutual Aid Film was just taking shape. A few months later, a crew of passionate individuals would meet for the first time in a small living-room to discuss our visions for this project, traveling to Haiti, and what we would do there. Throughout the process of our growth and development, there has yet to be a more potent emotional whirl-wind for me than that of physically getting to Haiti.
Moments blur together between rising tides of chaotic thought. I carry deep affections and seeds of doubt, both the size of my backpack, which is roughly the size of me. My backpack holds the weight of my bearings, and I struggle to even lift it without the threat of toppling over – which happens on occasion. My eyes are huge saucers of wonder and fear. My heart pulses loudly as every human emotion courses through my body in jolts and waves. My mind oscillates between profound humility and bumbling illusions-of-grandeur. Inside, I am like a storm.
The “Seatbelt” sign flashes on and I’m gnawing on a pen. Everything feels imminent, but I keep my awareness just above the cerebral water. Then the plane takes off and Time shrinks. When we land we are thrown into foreign territory. We navigate through it all, but underneath I am swimming in a torrential inner-violence of strong winds and crashing ocean waves on some delicate shore; two elemental worlds colliding on the shore of another and everything from pebble to plant is whipping around, caught in winds and thrown rapidly in all directions
Every landscape is moving outside of every window: subway train, airplane, taxi, bus, motorcycle – mountains, trees, oceans, fields, litter, kids playing, business suits. My heart is caught between my teeth and stomach. It rises and falls between the two in heavy beats – in sync with the tropical rhythms blaring from the Gwa-gwa Bus’s stereo on the ten-hour ride from Santo Domingo to Pedernales.
Since touching down in Santo Domingo, we’ve made connections with patient, peaceful folk. And yet in any given moment, I am revealed to myself in ugly ways: distrusting, guarded, frustrated with my own broken Spanish…. I am challenged even in the smallest of encounters. Communication involves staring at someone’s face to read their meaning, and repeating back words that stand out –whether or not I know the definitions. By the grace of some-kind-of-God, it works well enough to get us where we need to go.
From the border-town, I anticipate our crossing into Haiti. I imagine we will discover perceptions and ways of life that will disrupt our habitual modes of thought, and challenge our own “formas de ser” (ways of being). believe we share one world, divided by a third-world of perspective.