It's been almost two weeks since the earthquake in Haiti. I have spent a part of each day in tears, trying to process the magnitude of the disaster, feeling sorrow and grief for those who've lost so much, crying tears of joy for those who defied the odds, being moved by the sounds of Haitians who continue to sing and give praise to God, feeling humbled by the tremendous generosity that the American people have shown through their giving. Some of those feelings are similar to watching the aftermath of Katrina unfold on television, watching a world fall apart and feeling helpless against the onslaught.
My family has had ties to Haiti for the better part of twenty years. My mother has lived there on and off, currently residing in the seaside town of Jacmel. My sisters lived there as teenagers; there are many friends and loved ones that they care deeply for. I've only visited once, more than a decade ago. It was, quite frankly, the hardest trip I've ever taken, the one I was most unprepared for. I went, because I had long been fascinated by Haiti - its culture, its struggles, the political upheaval...but still, nothing could have prepared me for the abject poverty that I encountered.
Long after the discomforts of that trip, however, what has stayed with me the most was the generosity, the kindness, and the joy of the Haitian people. I visited people who had very little, but graciously offered me all they had. I walked in the heart of a slum, with giggling children trailing behind, showing me their world with the excitement that only children can have. I watched them joyfully splashing each other along the trash strewn shoreline of the Caribbean, oblivious to all that was around them. And I understood, in that trip, the true resilience of the Haitian people.
The road to recovery will be long and hard and we mustn't forget them once the current news cycle moves on to something else. Continue to give, even if it's just a few dollars at a time. Already, we've shown how we can begin changing the world, one dollar, one kind deed, at a time.
American Red Cross
Doctors Without Borders
Hope for Haiti Now
*I wanted to include this story, not for sensationalism, but because Sonia Flury wanted to share her story. I think that part of healing comes from being able to tell your story, from having people hear you. But be forewarned - it's a difficult piece to read. I cried through most of it.