On January 12, 2013, I was in Haiti for our Trauma Resources International (TRI) Ke Ansam program. This year, we marked the 3-year anniversary of the devastating 2010 earthquake. There were several commemorations, though not to the scale of the past 2 years. This year, most Haitians spent the day with family, in quiet and deeply personal reflection and acknowledgement. I spent the day with one of “my” families there; Dr. Roseline Benjamin and her children. The night before, we listened to her son Mikaben perform at a new restaurant/ performance space in Port au Prince. His song “Ayiti Se” has become very popular, and I first heard it in the second session of the current training series we are providing for psychologists and social workers. It’s a stunning song, that acknowledges the beautiful, historical, spiritual and magical aspects of Haiti in a way that celebrates her, rather than mourn her, as much of the current news coming out of Haiti still does.
MIkaben is working on a documentary, inspired by “Ayiti Se”, which will share everything that is beautiful in Haiti’s extraordinary history. This film will document the many places, practices, traditions and “Haiti’isms” that weave the historical and spiritual fabric that form Haiti’s unique resilience and beauty. TRI has already supported this film project by creating an opportunity for Mikaben and his crew to attend the sacred ceremonies to honor Ogou, the Lwa (spirit) of Warriorship, and Truth, in Cap Haitien and Limonade. We also visited the scared mud baths in Plen du Nord that occur annually for Ogou. These visits took place July 24-26, 2013, just a few days after we completed part 5 of “Body as Voice”; July 19-21. (Photos are posted in the photos section). This training was a transition training: we are shifting more explicitly into the training-of-trainers format, so that the IDEO clinicians who have been attending the training series can begin to share and train other colleagues wishing to integrate Restorative Movement Psychotherapy into their practice.
The generous contributions, donations and funds awarded at the end of 2012 by The Frost Foundation, The Kind World Foundation, The Marian Chace Foundation, Charles F Gray Trust and Donnalea Goetz will support the ongoing Body as Voice: Restorative Movement Psychotherapy for Survivors of Trauma training through to its completion in 2014. Part 6 of the series was scheduled for December 2013, but had to be postponed due to the ice storms that paralyzed DWI (and cancelled all the flights TRI Director Amber Gray was scheduled to take to Port au Prince, 3 days in a row). We are currently working on the reschedule. Following Part 6, we will take a brief break to allow for the integration of the material, and then TRI will provide 2-3 more trainings in specialty areas such as working with children; integrating ritual and spiritual practice; Continuum Movement and other to-be-determined topics. TRI only offers training in direct response to requests by the recipients; the amazing clinical team of IDEO wants time to integrate and practice what they have learned so that they can request future training topics that will focus on their immediate and long-term practice needs.
As always, thank you for your generous support. TRI welcomes your donations for its ongoing work in Haiti. As we move towards completion of the Body as Voice training series, we will continue to work with IDEO’s projects (which include Mikaben’s documentary project; Child Psychologist Melodie Benjamin’s budding non profit program for traumatized children; and IDEO’s summer camp for children who otherwise do not have opportunities to attend camp). Just as Mikaben sings in his ballad tribute to Haiti, TRI is committed to working locally with organizations and people who enhance and highlight the true spirit of Haiti. When we return to Haiti in 2014, we will meet with our IDEO colleagues to determine our ongoing collaborations.
Bon Anne Nouvelle!