We certainly have not blogged nearly as much as we planned to during our journey. For me, the main reason is that I don’t think what I have to say will help anyone understand the country of Haiti and the poverty of a 3rd world country. I also can’t tell the stories of the people we meet as I feel that they will be devoured like a tabloid tale and not a person’s life. These are real people and real issues. Today, as I was thinking about the normal daily life of a Haitian: going miles for water, no electricity, no home, no food, no job or hopes for one, and so on, I came to a realization. People do not have a choice in the location of their birth. For those born into this country (Haiti), their life is inherently difficult. Every day, every activity is hard. Living is hard. Shelter, food, water, education, work – these are DAILY issues.
For those of us born in a 1st world country with the blessings of shelter, water, food, jobs, education, healthcare and CHOICES, we have a responsibility. In our blessed life, we don’t think about IF we will eat, but WHAT we will eat. We spend time and money on more things and better stuff. We complain about the cost of healthcare and neglect the blessing that we have healthcare. In the past few weeks, I have seen a baby die from tetanus that she got during birth because there was nothing clean to cut the cord with. I have prayed that an accident victim with a broken leg would not die from lack of care. I have seen a stroke victim with no choices for rehab, there is none – she died. I cared for a 6 year old boy with an opening to his skull the size of a half dollar (from an accident) – and after we worked to find a place to do surgery, I am still praying that he will not die of infection as the wound was there for 5 days before he came to us. There are no CHOICES in Haiti. The unemployment rate is 90%. There are no jobs.
The blessings we have carry a large responsibility. We have the responsibility to help other people on this earth with basic material needs and with an even more valuable resource – time. Does this mean you have to go to a foreign land or spend lots of money? No. It means give a dollar to the Salvation Army bell ringer. It means donate a couple cans of food to the Food Banks (this can many times be done at the grocery store). It means driving a little out of your way to drop your cans in a Habitat-for-Humanity donation hut. It means donate one package of diapers or a can of formula a month to a women’s shelter. If you feel you have no money to spare, how about some time? Be a Big Brother/Big Sister. Volunteer at the library or soup kitchen. Build a house. Help a neighbor. Share your time and love with people – even some extra hellos or smiles to stangers. This is what we are called to do. And, we are given the challenge to make the world better place because we are truly blessed. The faith, community, and love I have seen in the Haitian people is amazing. Wouldn’t it be a better world if the ‘1st world’ had these attributes?
Please pray for us as we finish our physical time in Haiti.