Archive | May, 2011

Busca Vida

27 May

If the energizer bunny was reincarnated in a 6 yr old Haitian’s body, he would affectionately be named Buscavida. Well, actually he would be affectionately nicknamed Buscavida aka “Looking for Life” aka “Mooch”,  because of his innate ability to walk into any house in town and dance or puppy dog face his way into acquiring food.  I met this rambunctious people climbing kid in Puerto Plata with Que Lo Que and Andres, a peace corps volunteer who’s been in the same inner city barrio for the past year and 7 months.  Andres was kind enough to keep us busy engaging with the projects he’s been working on the past few months, learning and playing with the local kids, jumping off 27 consecutive waterfalls (YESSSSSSS), and experiencing Puerto Plata.

Every night ended with a parade of local kids launched a tactical assault of giggling mayhem on Andres’ small apartment.  I witnessed Buscavida, the unofficial general of the bunch, strut into Andres’ apartment with a mischievous grin on and one mission: to fill our room with the furniture shaking bass of “I like to move it, move it” or “Smooth Criminal”.  You see, Buscavida, along with being Jet Li’s protegee has many other hats.  One has a crooked nose,  is a musical genius, and may-or-may-not-have-kind-of-allegedly liked little kids.  In any case, Buscavida used the room’s table as a stage to showcase his Michael moves, complete with “OoH!”s, moonwalks, and crotch grabs galore.  More than anything, I feel like his genuine happiness infectiously spread like a rumor in a room of 13 yr old girls.  It’s hard to express with words just how happy this little guy was because “Happy” just doesn’t do him justice.  Especially if you’ve seen him moonwalk off a table into a spinning, jumping “OoH!” that makes an entire room of college kids and Dominicans erupt in hysterical laughter.

If you think about it, everyone’s been touched by a kid like this in their life.   Now, it may not have been a 6 yr old–TONS of kids that inhabit the bodies of gray haired men– but you know what I mean.  This experience was special for me, not because it was new, but because of the genuine joy Buscavida brought every time he entered the room.  He was a rambunctious, fun, ridiculous 6 yr old who, along with having an affinity for sharing his dancing booty with every person and inanimate object in the room, also shared a human love for being ridiculous and making people smile.

Here’s to crazy little kids.




Diving in Head first

16 May

(Dangerous Do Not Pass)

It’s 2:30am and tomorrow I’ll leave behind a “normal” summer to venture south into a land full of colors, Hispanic culture, a new tongue, beautiful souls, and adventurous experiences to be had. If you know me, you know I live for this, yet for some reason I’m still up…and it’s not the 5 lbs of brownies and icecream sitting happily in my stomach in preparation for the ice-cream-less life I’m about to begin.

It all boils down to change. Some thrive in it, some avoid it like the plague. Everyone handles this frequent disruptor differently, and for me, a champion of adverse circumstances, I actually don’t know what to expect. My love hate relationship with Monday, May 16th is a mystery. Leaving behind friends and family is what grips me, but I’m pulled to still go. It’s like any cliche spy movie when the “aha!” plot twist pulls you to the edge of your seat.  The protagonist turned antagonist is hanging off a cliff with one arm locked in a death grip to our beloved hero. While it sucks to let go, it’s a necessary evil to progress the plot. Don’t tell anyone, but May 16th and I are breaking up after tonight’s date.

Tomorrow (today, it’s 3am) Que Lo Que will take it’s second venture into the wonders of La Isla Hispañola. We’ll be working in Lajas with their new artisan school while living the everyday lives of the people and trying to document a holistic view of their amazing community. Did I mention the mangoes taste like a gift from above? Don’t tell anyone, but that’s our real reason for going….

When was the last time you dived in head first?