Healing in Haiti: Two Years Later

12 Jan

It is incredible sometimes how quickly time seems to speed past some, yet remains completely motionless for others.  The stunning, grotesque and heartbreaking images from January 12, 2010 have been so seared into my mind that they are as emotionally potent today as they were two years ago.  Seeing how a 7.0 magnitude earthquake could hit the island of Hispaniola; ravish the country of Haiti and demolish the City of Port-au-Prince not only left me physically and emotionally spent, but it showed how even as political rivals in this country have bickered across party lines about ideology and have continued to lay social and economic fault at the feet of one another (from their luxurious hills on high), thousands of people in a third-worldly region laid dead and dying; millions of their brethren suffering through lives irrevocably battered and broken.

With the anniversary of the earthquake that rocked Haiti (recognized by native Haitians only as January 12th) and the many news reports and features that are coming out of the Caribbean nation, it is reassuring to see and hear that so many people are making a concerted effort to rebuild their lives.  Unfortunately (and realistically) however, there are many more who are still struggling day-to-day to survive, just as they were two years ago.  Yes, humanitarian aid has continued to flow into the country and the national infrastructure remains a work in progress, but the sad reality is that for as much international assistance and political restructuring that has filtered through Haiti, the country has still been riddled with corruptness (insert various questionable foundations and funds misuse, missionary border-crossing fees and tenement land taxation for the homeless scenarios here).

Still, the resiliency of The People is not only encouraging, it seems addictive.  They are returning to work.  They are attending school.

They are adopting the children of the fallen.

They are mending families.

In many ways, they are embodying “community”.

January 12th was the great equalizer.  For all intents and purposes, it was as though the haves were introduced to a life just marginally worse than the one the have nots had been living previously, and in residing on common ground, forced both groups to become a village; impoverished and fragmented, but a village nonetheless.  Today, in the face of despair, dire straits and an unforeseeable future, The People aren’t waiting for what the rest of the world will do for them; they are figuratively and literally digging through the rubble left in the wake of January 12th and rebuilding their lives one day at a time.

Yes.  Even in a wealthy nation not used to suffering through an 8.5% unemployment rate, the plight of Haiti and her people still really does put “poverty” and “having a hard day” into perspective now doesn’t it?

 Listen here to Dick Gordon from NPR’s “The Story” as he travels to Haiti in this second of three-part special Re-Inventing Haiti.

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