I am writing to you from the gate at the Miami airport waiting to board the plane headed to Minneapolis. I am ready to get home and sleep in my own bed but it feels like I left part of myself in Haiti. It really was and is a wonderfully impactful place. At first it felt like an alien planet but after a few days it took a new shape. It’s weird because I imagine that when people back home think about Haiti they think about the earthquake, poverty, starvation, or third world. What is sad to me about that is some people might equate that to lesser. A whole nation that is lesser than the rest.
What I saw on that island was anything but lesser. Yes, I saw the effects of a 4-year old earthquake, yes it is a very poor nation, and yes it is the “third world.” All of that was really hard to see too. Like when we visited the mass grave of those who were unidentified after the quake, or when we went into Cite Soleil, the poorest slum in the western hemisphere, or when we visited an orphanage and found out they had enough food at most a week. However what I noticed more than that was people. People who were doing what they could to get by. People who had hope and faith in something bigger. People who had stories, stories that they knew were a part of a much larger epic. What I saw was a city with a chance to rebuild. What I saw was the joy of little kids when they saw white people in Cite Soleil there to give them love and water. What I saw was tears of joy in the face of a director as we brought a month’s supply of food to his orphanage.
So maybe when we think about poverty we shouldn’t think “lesser” we should think about people with amazing stories. Anyway it’s been a long week and I’m tired and I got a plane to catch.