Glimpses of hope in Haiti

UN member countries contribute police forces to help stabilize Haiti's security.
Ever see one of these near your home? UN member countries contribute police forces to help stabilize Haiti's security.

Haiti is a country of contrasts. Some roads in downtown Port-au-Prince look like a rocky river bed, with jagged rocks and certainly no indication of recent maintenance. I was amazed to see piles of trash dumped in city streets or sidewalks, the mounds rotting or smoldering.

The country’s government is a fragile entity. When World Concern staff travels to Haiti, we carefully evaluate the security in the country to minimize risk. You might see some Haitian police forces, but at least as often, you will notice UN security forces. Sometimes they will be working on foot. Other times, they will be in full armor, travelling in an armored personnel carrier, which looks very much like a tank. The poverty is so widespread, I was wondering when I looked at some poor families selling their fruit or other wares – if they could really find a better life.

There is another Haiti, though. It’s the Haiti that once was, and a Haiti that may one day return. I saw this in the white sand beaches that could be any Carribean paradise. If only tourists felt safe getting to the beaches, they would come. They could walk under beautiful canopies of trees, with coconuts and bananas growing in villages. Actually, as I understand it from locals, some cruise ships do now dock on an isolated area of the northern coast, allowing passengers to enjoy a secured beach. The locals tell me that cruise ship operators don’t make it clear that they are in Haiti.  They say the city name instead. Maybe one day there won’t be the stigma. Haiti once did enjoy tourism.

I can also see this potential with the Haitians who are able to educate their children and who value the rights of women. I am proud to see how World Concern humanitarians are helping Haitians who share our sustainable vision. Once-hungry families are now able to feed themselves.

There is a movement in this often desperate country to break out of the despair.  In situations where it’s easy to focus on the enormous challenges, it is refreshing to see hints of a better life for the good people of Haiti.

In Port-au-Prince, Haiti, piles of trash line many streets, sometimes set on fire.
In Port-au-Prince, Haiti, piles of trash line many streets, sometimes set on fire.
Does this look like Haiti? It is a beautiful beach, near Les Cayes, on the southern coast.
Does this look like Haiti? It is a beautiful beach, near Les Cayes, on Haiti's southern coast.

2 thoughts on “Glimpses of hope in Haiti”

  1. In 2007, my husband and I took a cruise to the Western Caribbean. One stop was at Port-au-Prince. Unless I go as a missionary or a Nurse Practitioner for medical support, I will never again take a cruise to this island. I could not buy enough things from the locals. I could not give enough money to the children. My heart broke thinking of the poverty, hunger and living conditions they were enduring while 50 yards out there was a cruise ship loaded with food – food that was taken for granted, eaten by gluttons and thrown away like trash. No one on the beach seemed to see what I saw. They went on their merry way eating a barbecue picnic lunch provided by the cruise line, basked in the sun and haggled over the cost of purchasing items from the locals and the cost for water sport rentals. I realize we were on vacation and it was supposed to be pleasurable, but why “tease” these poverty stricken people with a ship full of jewels when they are eating “mud pies” to fill their hungry bellies. It put a cloud over the rest of our vacation. It’s sad that something so catastrophic needed to happen to wake people up to the realization that the Haitian’s need assistance right now and in years to come. For the majority, these are proud, hard-working people; yet, 70% of the population is living in poverty. I am a firm believer in Karma; I believe that if you are a kind and caring person and help out your fellow man – good things will come your way. I also believe that if you are judgmental like Pat Robertson and Rush Limbaugh and show your ignorance toward the people of Haiti, you will pay for it – if not in this life, then in the next. Anyone of us could be the Haitian trying to feed her family. For some unknown reason to us, God put us somewhere else in the world. Maybe it was to help bring ourselves to a higher place in Heaven by helping those less fortunate than us. Maybe it was a way to learn how to pray for others besides ourselves. Either way, there is a lesson here to be learned. My hope is that we are learning that lesson and becoming better brothers and sisters to each other – all over the world.

  2. Haiti is a country that has proven it’s ability to hold on when all hope should have been gone.Say what you like about the country and it’s proud people they have true guts,even when those guts are empty, they just keep holding on.This is not Haiti’s ending it is in fact a new beginning.Keep watching( life ) has a way of righting the wrong.

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