Since January of 2009 I have been making trips to Haiti. We have accomplished a great deal lighting homes and creating a biofuel program, but its only a drop in a bucket. You can look either at accomplishments, or need, and feel encouraged or depressed. Today I’m cleaning out my home office and ran across a bundle of notes from a trip in 2011. I wrote this then, and felt encouraged after reading it today. If you haven’t been to Haiti you really can’t imagine what it is like from what you hear on the news. I think I wrote this years ago to share, and I’m glad I found it today:
Smiling, laughing, kisses on cheeks, beautiful children with ribbons in braids;
School uniforms. Boys and girls walk linked, arm in arm, to school.
Makeshift kites and balls entertain, chalkboard slates educate.
Workers scurry from place to place. Those without jobs make them.
A helping hand is always there.
Your truck won’t stay stuck in the mud for long – the village comes to help.
Curious stares from expressionless faces ignite into dazzling smiles with a simple “hello”.
Beautiful beaches, water in countless shades of blue.
Mountains rise one after another covered with rocks and infant trees.
Optimism, determination, boundless creativity and ingenuity define the Haitian way.
Can-do, will-do: their attitude.
Not blind to the poverty, the creases placed on faces through countless hardships;
the red hair of malnutrition.
Waste, garbage, open sewers, sickness.
Broken dreams, debris, rusted equipment.
Sugarcane fields lying in waste due to cheaper overseas sugar.
Rice – the same.
I see these things, all of them, but to me they are not the image of Haiti.
This is the current condition, but I see too much to believe it will last.
Haiti is not hopeless. Haitians are not hopeless.
The reflection of “Haiti” is in the smiles of her people.
I am privileged and honored to work in such a place, and her optimism is contagious. I am not hopeless.
It is my responsibility to tell the world, whatever you’ve heard before, consider this: there is much more to the story.