My Neighbors Children

Monday, January 23, 2012

Come Go To Haiti With Me!


Come go to Haiti with Me!

I have been what do you do when you go to Haiti?
Let me share.

First, go to the airport, weighted down with four suitcases that
are over limit, over weight, and full of stuff that you have to get
to the people.  Over the counter medicine, food, diapers
(large ones that can't be found in Haiti for the handicap kids),
 vitamins, shoes, underwear for the kids, items that they need
and just can't find in Haiti, i.e. plastic bags/shopping bags,
endless sippy cups and bottles, kids get the picture.

Arrive in Port au Prince, and see before you land, a landscape
 that is full of tents, and people, and need.

Fight through the endless people trying to "help" that are at first
annoying, but you realize they just need to make money, and
 with unemployment at 80%, carrying a suitcase for someone
might buy them a pot of rice that night.  It stops being annoying,
when you realize it is desperation.

Get in a truck with a pre-arranged driver, and get on the
 road...........full of potholes, and people, and traffic.  You immediately
 see what you have heard about..........humans living in tent cities
that were built for an emergency, and are now there two years later,
 worse for wear, and full of stories of sadness and desperation.
This is within two minutes of leaving the airport.

The scene continues...........tents, people trying to sell whatever they can (5 mangos, old clothes, whatever) on the side of roads, to buy food.  They are wearing donated clothes, donated shoes,
and are doing whatever they can in a crowded and dirty world.  You see in the tent towns, maybe for the first time ever, kids without clothes/no underwear/no diapers looking at you with shame
and hope and you drive by.  You can't look for long, it seems too wrong to see this and to keep driving. Your instinct is to stop your truck, get out, take care of those in need.

You will arrive at what will now seem like an oasis, New Life Children's Home,after one dirty street after another, full of people that are trying to stay alive.  New Life is a walled compound for children and guests, and it just happens to be one of my homes.  You are greeted by a guard, and you scrub down with soap and bleach to kill whatever you have picked up on the outside......all before you enter the compound.  They can't risk you bringing in anything that would harm the children, more than they were harmed before they came in.

And then you start your work.  Some people stay within the safety of New Life, and work with the kids, and interact with them, and try to make difference with them, and try to not get too attached, and wonder how you can leave them?  Some people go back into the rubble and dirt and problems, and try to make a difference there, through work projects, and feeding people, and providing care and reassurance, and hope that a few people will go to bed each night less sick, less hungry, less exposed, because of what you did.

You go to bed at night, covered with mosquito nets, and think "I am glad to be here, glad to have done what I did today, and how can I do more?".  And in the morning, you get up, and you do the same,and you are both happy that you are there doing what you are doing, but somewhat lost in the vast need.

You have to keep focused on what you are doing........not what you can't do.  It is the only way to move forward.  EVERY LITTLE bit matters.  You keep repeating that.  You repeat that when you see the peoples eyes whom you are not helping this time, you repeat that when you are too tired to do more, and you repeat that when you realize that you will be leaving soon.  It is all that you can do, repeat EVERY LITTLE BIT matters.

And, your time is up.  You think "what did I do?", and here is a list I will share: you stopped some hunger pangs, you gave your one bottle of water/your one protein bar/your tablet of 
antibiotic to someone who needed it more, you cleaned a church or school and not because the others were too lazy but too weak to do so,  you held a child that desperately needed to be held, you laughed with a couple of adults who have had a rough life but can still share a laugh, you shared the contents of your suitcases because to leave with anything seems criminal when these people are grateful for everything.

You made a difference, for a day for a week for a month.................

So, you travel back to the airport, same roads, same half-dressed hungry kids, and you hate to leave because you feel a sense of responsibility and guilt.  But go, and tell the story of what you did, make plans to return and do it all again, and share the message of these people, just like us, worse circumstances, but just like us, and how they need us. 


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