I find that, as a student, the majority of my time here is spent doing school online. I would much rather spend my time outside, away from this computer, helping those who need it. I recently voiced this concern with my parents. Unfortunately, there are very few teams from the U.S. or Canada coming down, so chances to get off-site and into the villages are scarce. My parents were both looking for some way for me to get out of the house, when suddenly, a chance presented itself.
Yesterday started out like any other day to me. I had immediately launched myself into my studies. Suddenly, I recieved a phone call. Dad was taking a patient into a nearby city and wanted to know if I wanted to tag along. I quickly agreed and made my way to the clinic. From there, I hopped into the front seat of the ambulance while dad climbed in the back with the patient. We then left the mission and headed west.
We arrived at the hospital after a quick ambulance ride. Jocelyn, our driver, hopped out and went into the hospital to ensure that they were prepared for our arrival. He returned and told us that we could move the patient inside. We pulled the cot out of the ambulance and made our way to the hospital. We didn’t get very far. The guard at the gate denied us entrance. When Jocelyn tried to get an explaination, he was told we couldn’t enter because we were white. This is unheard of, and we were all shocked. Jocelyn drafted some men off the street to help carry the cot. Dad and I reluctantly returned to the ambulance.
As we sat in the ambulance, we couldn’t help but notice that a majority of the nurses and doctors were not Haitian. They were far from it, most of them appeared to be of a Hispanic descent. I found this distinctly unfair, if we couldn’t go in because we were white, why could they go in? I was darker skinned than some of them. It didn’t make any sense.
A van pulled up and several more Hispanic-looking people got out. They immediately strolled through the gate and passed the guard without hesitation. The guard made no move to stop them, and greeted some of them personally. I noticed that many of them wore shirts and hats that boasted Cuban flags or had the word “Cuba” scrawled across them. The truck also had a Cuban flag on it.
The guard noticed our observance, and waved us over. He then apologized fervently, saying he had nothing against us. His boss had told him not to admit any Americans. He apologized even more, saying that he appreciated all that we and other Americans had done for his country, but he had to do his job and keep us out. We couldn’t argue with that, he was just doing his job.
After we once again returned to the ambulance, it clicked in my head. I mentioned my theory to dad, and he was of the same opinion. The hospital was Cuban run, and the administrators refused to allow any Americans inside. I had never expected to be prejudiced against, especially in Haiti. We asked several Haitians, and they all confirmed that the hospital was Cuban run. Every single Haitian we told was outraged, exclaiming that the Cuban weren’t even in their own country and they didn’t have the right to keep us out. Several of my kind Haitian friends got upset like I’d never seen them before.
Jocelyn returned to the ambulance then. He was staying with the patient, because the doctors refused to give the ambulance cot back. They did this so we couldn’t leave, in case they decided that they actually didn’t want the patient. We were forced to wait while they ran blood tests and decided whether or not to keep the patient. Jocelyn told us that the doctors were angry that we Americans had come to them for help, and were angry that we were still there. Jocelyn was also mad, at the injustice of our treatment. This shouldn’t be about our races, but about the dying patient, right?
Eventually, the doctors decided to keep the patient, and we were sent on our way. Neither dad nor I ever even got the chance to look a doctor or nurse in the eye, let alone speak to one of them about the patient. Jocelyn just came back with the cot and told us it as time to leave. We left without a second look back.
Every Haitian that has heard of this incident has been shocked and infuriated. That this kind of prejudice exists amoung missionaries is ridiculous. You would think that people could forget their differences and unite to help those in need. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
I longed for some excitement away from the tediousness of school, and that is what I got. It is good that I know some good people of Cuban descent, or else my entire view of the country and it’s people may have been distorted. In fact, Mr. Joe Garcia, one of my favorite teachers, has a Cuban backround. He is one of the coolest guys I know, and I am glad that his kindness and awesomeness as a teacher allows my view of the world to remain untarnished in that regard.
And so, another adventure has come and passed. Every second of my time here has given me so much experience in the real world. I am greatful for this opportunity, for it has certainly changed my life for the better and allowed me to learn more about myself and others. I end this blog in the same way as I always do: with a request. Please pray for us, and please, please pray about finacially assisting us. We cannot do this without your generosity. Even the smallest amounts of help would help us help the world. Thank you.
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