Hello friends, we’ve made it back from Haiti. As always, visiting Hispaniola was equal parts fruitful, inspiring, uplifting, frustrating, confusing and crushingly depressing. We high-tailed it out of there before the storm hit; which several colleagues have likened to a cowardly Costanza pushing everyone out of the way to save his own skin. Touché.
If we can get reflective for a moment…
Last night as Isaac blew through our neighborhood here in Florida, the wind howled and the rain lashed but nothing much really happened to us. My bougainvillea got roughed up. The dogs pooped in the house. Those things were a bit annoying. But the roof, walls and windows held, and life continued this morning pretty much as usual. We never even lost power.
I can’t help but wonder what last night was like for people in Haiti (more specifically the poor people, rich people in any country usually sleep just fine). They say at least 24 people have died, but who can say how many more sustained damage to their homes or lost their crops or whatever possessions they need to survive. Even more, how many this morning are dealing with sick children, or terrified children, a flooded house, or a ruined road that prevents them from getting to a doctor or a job that pays the only income they can find? What are the people in the tent cities eating today? There’s no McDonald’s in Haiti.
In the best of circumstances, Haiti is a hard place to live. No doubt bad weather makes it harder. And natural disasters increase woe, difficulty and suffering to a point that is probably not possible for most of us to fully understand. And yet the Haitian people somehow move on with a spirit that should challenge us all to reconsider how much we complain – and certainly the things we complain about.
One thing I always chuckle about in Haiti is how incredibly patient/flexible the people seem when compared to Americans. If Americans were subjected to the conditions the people there face on a daily basis for just one week, there is no doubt we would see an epidemic of people’s heads exploding (NO ELECTRICITY??? YOU’RE OUT OF NUGGETS??? CANNOT COMPUTE. *BOOM*), widespread rioting and more hissyfits than the world has ever seen.
A common theme we seem to touch on a lot here is borrowing things from other cultures and peoples in an effort to better ourselves. Say what you will about Haiti (obviously they have a massive amount of issues), but I wish we Americans had more of their perseverance, patience, flexibility and ingenuity. We used to have those things, but we’re just so comfortable now we don’t really value those qualities any more. The ideas of patience and perseverance seem nostalgic, from another age. Today we value quickness, ease and fancyness.
But times of trial do inevitably seem to bring the best out of us. This seems like a morbid sense of hope, but it is a sense of hope nonetheless I suppose. It’d be nice if good times made us more generous and more appreciative, but it doesn’t usually work that way unfortunately.
In any event, let’s continue to think about and pray for the victims of Isaac wherever they may be. And continue reminding each other every day of how truly fortunate we are.