I’ve been sitting here processing my time down in Haiti this week.
It’s pretty amazing how the whole problem – relief, economic etc. – is so intractable. It’s the word that kept coming back to my mind – intractable. It really is more complicated than anything I’ve seen before. Most experts I spoke with speak of generation(s) it will take to fix the systemic problems Haiti has and is facing. There are no quick fixes.
Despite this, there are instances everywhere of things that have made a difference. Aid, support and medical help have made an impact on people’s lives. The lesson for me is to always remain optimistic even in the face of such daunting challenges. Giving a cup of cold water to someone in need, as Jesus coached, is always worth it.
I’m rich, we’re rich, America is rich. Most in Haiti were living on less than $2 a day before the earthquake hit. The earthquake decimated the capital city which has 3 million of the 9 million people in Haiti living in it. The whole economy of Haiti is gone. Not only were homes demolished, but businesses too. Typically, micro-finance institutions would help people begin to pull themselves out of poverty by giving them the means to start a small business. What do you do, however, when there is no market, no infrastructure and no money in a country? The whole economy is paralyzed. It really made me realize how much opportunity we have – how rich we are.
I thought of trying to live on $2 for one day to see what that would feel like. I quickly gave up the idea when I realized I spend more than that in gas to get to work. I could ride a bike, but I don’t have one. I could get one, but even a garage sale bike would be more than $2 – and then I’d need to buy a helmet to ride it and….
The bottom line is we have so much to be thankful for. We’re rich. We’re blessed.
The question I keep asking myself is, “What am I doing with my riches?” Am I just trying to gain more wealth or am I leveraging it for the benefit of the vulnerable?
Lastly, there was the young girl pictured below. She was trapped in rubble for well over a day after the earthquake hit Haiti. As a result, she lost her left arm. When asked about the earthquake she said, “That was a sad day.” Standing behind her, her mother choked back tears.
I think of my girls and it hits so close to home. There’s nothing I can do with that story… I just can’t get it out of my mind.