Friday, January 15, 2010

Haiti - more thoughts

There is a dentist who comes to the clinic 2 days a week from Ouanaminthe, near the Dominican border. I asked about her studies, how she settled on becoming a dentist. She was interested in agriculture, but failed the exam to get into that school. Dentistry school opened up for her. She attended school in Port au Prince and the government paid for it.

There is a debt that she must repay as a result of this. She doesn't HAVE to repay the debt. There is no signed paper saying so, no requirement. But, she feels the debt.

Why not leave and go to the US to live? "I am Haitian. I must live in Haiti." Haitians should live in Haiti. It should be this way. She has thought this since childhood. I am an American, and I live in America. She is Haitian and should live in Haiti.

She sees what is being done here. We are coming down and giving opportunities to Haitians. Education. Healthcare. Jobs. This is good. It is what Haiti needs. What do we get when we come down? Just the good feeling that comes with helping others? I said much, much more. My life was changed when I first came to Haiti. To see that not all people live the way I live. Not only is there a cultural difference, but there's an economic difference. Not everyone has a home, a car, a job, a free education. We have kids and give them everything. Toys, games, McDonald's Happy Meals. They are not always satisfied. Here, kids are so happy to get a piece of candy. They are happy to have clothes to wear. Seeing this makes me grateful for what I have. And not just gratitude. I see that others live differently. And they are happy. They are fun people to get to know. They feel like we feel. Love their kids like we love our kids. Worry like we worry. They are like us. Some things are the same, some are different. If we get to know them, our lives are better as a result. We are better people.

I think the dentist has not heard this expressed before. Maybe she did not understand that we give and we get. Haitians get and they give.

It is magical to see the hope on their faces. It's contagious. And I need an infusion of hope. Sometimes, I feel like my life can be bleak. It gets that way when I have nothing worthwhile to work on. But I come and I see the difference that a school can make. Getting an education and learning. And a clinic. The ability to visit a doctor and get better. These provide so much hope!

Staying in Haiti and making a difference. Young adults can make the difference. Haitians should stay in Haiti. I want to stay in Haiti. I am grateful for an opportunity to stay. The dentist has a job, this makes it possible for her to stay. Here in a village, it is not the city, but there is an opportunity to stay. The village does not offer movies, shopping, socializing in discos. There's not much to do, so the young people get bored. It's not such a good scene.

Talking with the dentist, she says she is so grateful that missionaries come in and bring hope. Haitians respond to that. There is hope that something could get better. Haitians can participate, and they are encouraged. Missionaries participate and they are encouraged. Hope can be a very contagious thing. What we are doing is good. It is helpful.

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