Thursday, January 14, 2010

Thoughts on Haiti..... I imagine many people have this week, I've been thinking about Haiti. I perhaps have a little closer feel for the situation than many watching the television news as I've seen Haiti for myself though I never went there. In 2008 we visited the Dominican Republic and after visiting Lago Enriquillo our guide told us we were going to "a Haitian market". Expecting a fairly standard tourist market, we ended up at a flooded "market" that was in neither Haiti nor DR but in the no-mans land between the two. We had half-expected wood carvings or beads or other common touristy merchandising but this was an actual market used by locals. Locals who crossed from DR to buy toothpaste and rice from large men with hardware on their belts. Toothpaste and rice in containers stamped "WHO". These people were collecting the food and health aid and selling it cheap across the border. Children were playing with machetes and bowie knives in the polluted water that flooded the market edge.

Looking to the distanceone could see the difference between the two countries. One's land lush and healthy, the other brown and dead though the two sights were separated by less than a mile. A few weeks after we stared across the border with dread, I came across news reports of Haitians eating mud cakes to try and fill empty stomachs.

A dead, deforested land with armed gangs stealing charity and medicine from hungry children who are reduced to eating mud. Its a scandal that it took a massive earthquake and thousands more dead to really focus the world's attention on what is happening to Haiti but now that it has I hope we can fix more than the buildings.

1 comment:

Keetha Broyles said...

You know, I have been to Haiti and when I heard about the EQ in Port-au-Prince, I kept remembering the people sitting in the gutters washing themselves and their clothes - - - collecting water to use for their food/drink right out of that gutter with raw sewage flowing down it.

And I wondered - - - is part of the reason the populace of the city has reacted with calm in the aftermath of the EQ is that many of them have never lived UNDER a roof anyway - - - most of them have never had CLEAN WATER anyway - - - and their expectations of what life is supposed to be are limited to finding a few bites of food once every day or two.

I don't know.

But I do know - - - the suffering there has been going on since long before the quake drew our attention there.