Writing this blog was not on my to-do list today, but as we see newsfeeds filled with posts and comments, we feel compelled to tell you why we choose to live in a (bleep) country.
It’s our job.
We live here because this is where our work is. It was a calling from God and a step of faith because let’s be honest… up until that point, neither one of us had ever pined to live in Haiti. The country was seldom on our radar screen and when it was, it’s because of something that was devastating or negative. But then we came here and learned more about this place and it will forever be a part of us.
This country has so much natural beauty, it could blow you away. The entire land mass is about the size of Maryland, but we have beautiful beaches, desert cacti, pine forests, and banana trees at the base of mountains that look like a scene from the movie Jurassic Park. The way the Artibonite River winds its way through the countryside shows its perseverance. Gorgeous waterfalls and basins, historical landmarks, breathtaking sunsets, terraced hills, and vast mountain views, all wrapped up in a tiny geographic package.
Haitians are beautiful, strong, resilient, and resourceful. They put up with so much and just keep keeping on. Are some corrupt? Yes. Do some steal? Absolutely. It’s because they are people too, just like you and me. They have families that they love, and they have hopes and dreams. They deal with serious issues as best they can, just like everyone else in the world.
Their level of patience and ability to accept whatever situation comes their way is enviable. Those in the developed world complain when they see a bank line with 4-5 people in it. Imagine walking into a bank and seeing 70-80 people in line. If you have a car that seats four comfortably, could you ride two hours with 7-8 people packed in?
As you read this, some of you may say, “I could never do that; thankfully I don’t have to.” There are many Haitian that don’t have to do that either. But if they did, there wouldn’t be complaining. That, my friends, is where the difference is.
Tim and I have some additional thoughts about the negative comments recently talked about in the media.
To our friends who express such righteous outrage, we can’t help but wonder what it is that bothers you most. You can criticize the president for being insensitive and crass, but what is your motivation for defending a country you’ve never been to and/or a culture you don’t understand? If it is rooted in compassion, is there a related action? Some of you are on this journey with us in various ways and for that we thank you. For those who are outraged at the comment, we hope that you will consider visiting/vacationing here.
For the man who made the insensitive remark in the first place, do you realize that parts of America are hurting? I’m not talking about slums in big cities and those with insecurities (please don’t get me started on the whole “food insecurity” thing), but do you really think that those living in Appalachia or on Indian reservations feel that they’ve got it good? The lack of basic resources such as running water and flushing toilets still exists in America.
Have you given any thought to why so many people came to America in the first place? What made it such a melting pot? My heritage is Irish and Tim’s is Norwegian. From what we know about history, those countries were also (bleep) at some point in time.
To our knowledge, President Trump has never visited Haiti. His limited viewpoint is what has been portrayed for decades by the American media and how they present Haiti to Americans. If that was all the information you had then yes, it is a (bleep). It is a country that has seen centuries of oppression followed by corruption and neglect. However, when you live here, when you experience Haiti, it doesn’t take long to recognize the beauty and resilience of her people.
We consider ourselves lucky that we get to live in Haiti.