Monday, June 3, 2013
Yesterday and today! Travel Journals of my life
Reviewing my past has been fun and insightful. I did not see myself as a writer prior to
this project. A reader yes, A writer no! Some of the most important memories of my life
were written in travel diaries. Many of these moments changed my life forever. One of my
favorite diaries was about my travels to Haiti when I was 16 years old. A High School friend had
grown up in Haiti and was going back home for the Summer. I am so thankful to Anne Nelson that
she invited me for a month visit.
My future writings involved two situations. The first event happened immediately after our arrival
in Port a Prince, Haiti in 1971. Finding a means of transportation was an event in itself. We went down
to the market place locating a bus traveling to Les Cayes in Southwest Haiti. With a extra dollar
payment, we were allowed to sit in the front seat with the driver. The back of the truck was filled with
haitians traveling to a Tuberculosis clinic in Les Cayes. We traveled for over 8 hours on the bus
stopping in small villages to pick up extra travelers.
Though the trip was rough and uncomfortable, I could not imagine what the trip would offer me
in life lessons. As we traveled through the towns on rough roads, we would stop occasionally in small
villages. Groups of children would run to the bus with the excitement of a group of Justin Bever fans.
As so as they saw two white teenagers in the open front seat, they were immediately trying to climb
onto the bus. They would beg and plead for money until we moved onto the next stop. In the
beginning I would give out pennies in each town. After a few hours, I was out of pennies and thinking
I wish that I had prepared for this trip.
When I was out of dimes and quarters, I knew I was in trouble. That is when my friend told me to
stop! She said, "Karen, you have given enough. Stop!" How was I going to do that? Anne said,
"Turn your back to the door when we come into the villages," explained Anne. "Don't look at their
faces and ignore them!" she added. I will never forget this experience and have used it in my writings
my entire life. In 1995, WMU required you to take a test to enter the School of Education. Part of the
test was an essay to be individually graded. I received a notice in the mail that the essay had received a
superior rating. Even as I continued in school my month in Haiti was part of my writings.
Another part of the trip was part of my diary. I wrote about the amazing sounds and smells of my
trip. At night we could hear the voodoo drums from the local villages. This was a haunting noise and
I can still remember the moment I heard it the first time. I wrote about this moment because it was
a moment that chilled my bones.