MC retreat center in Haiti a
good morning sweep
The compound is quite large, perched on the edge of a foul stream whose maliferous odors, thanks be to God, never seem to overcome the convent buildings. It is quite a garden inside the convent walls, with abundant banana trees, shady grape arbors, spreading coconut palms, ponderous mangos, fiery acacias, citrus, rhododendron, various flowering shrubs, and luxuriant ferns. A menagerie of domesticated animals wanders the grounds as well: two hounds, about a dozen noisy turkeys, skinny cats beyond number, roosters and hens, clicking-clacking geckos, and bunches of white rabbits (the latter confined to warrens, and taken out occasionally for lunches and dinners). It is quite a little community of flora and fauna!
With so much animal and plant life, and the MC love of order and cleanliness, the sisters and their three or four Haitian helpers sweep down the entire place every day. That means someone is sweeping somewhere at any given time. I wake up at 6am to the sound of the old gardener quietly sweeping the patio outside my room. During Mass at 7am one of the ladies sweeps around the chapel. From where I give my retreat conferences I can see one of the drivers sweeping around the magnolia trees. During holy hour I can hear the sweep sweep coming from somewhere. They always sweep in silence, patiently, almost as an act of prayer.
And you know what I have not heard in Port-au-Prince yet? The garrulous growl of a leaf blower. I suppose they can’t afford them, or don’t like them, or prefer to quietly, methodically sweep sweep away. As I write this I can see the old gardener loping past my window, a broom and basket in hand. This is something I love about Haiti, and most “less developed” cultures. They love cleanliness and order as much as we do, but they enjoy the act cleaning, naturally, the way a cat takes time to lick itself down, or a bird arranges its nest, or a bee colony carefully puts everything in order.
Leaf blowers, as I have always said, are from the devil!