As you know, Help One Now focuses much of our efforts on helping the orphaned children and vulnerable families in Haiti. It is an overwhelming job; the needs are so great. A recent article posited that Haiti is now the single poorest country in the world. This absolutely breaks my heart. We love this country because we love the people and we see so much good and hope is the present day. However, we also know that the brokenness and suffering are real, that Haitians wake up and have to navigate life under extreme circumstances daily. We do not believe it has to be this way, which is why we have chosen to give our lives to work beside the local leaders of this country. We know we can help them, serve their communities and assist them as they work to move themselves off these kinds of lists.
So, can Haiti be saved?
It is so easy to lose hope when you just look at raw data. But, the stats do not tell the full story. When you spend time with Haitians, when you see their passion for God, their love for their country, their incredible work ethic to get up and labor every single day . . . you already know the answer to that question.
- When you see a mother walk hours with a jerrycan so she can get dirty water for the day
- When you see a father work 12 hours a day for the hope of making $1 or $2 so he can feed his family
- When you see a child walk miles to school because she wants an education so badly, only to pass out in class from hunger and malnutrition
- When you meet a Haitian leader who is so passionate about Haiti and who gives up their own lives to serve their country and deal with what seems to be impossible circumstances
These are the kinds of stories that seem too manufactured to be true, but they are the reality for literally millions of Haitians. I wish I could snap my fingers and change everything. Haitians –everyone– deserve opportunities that daily access to food, clean water, schools and jobs can bring. I want them to have dignity, I want them to be able to provide for their own families and be able to give back to their own communities. I want to see less NGO’s driving around in Haiti and less short-term mission groups going to Haiti for seven days and leaving the country possibly worse than when they arrived. (If I could only tell the stories of how so many of these groups hurt Haiti, yet we also know that at times, we’ve also done those exact same things. We have hurt the people of Haiti.)
Of course, we also know that we do not have it all figured out, so we must walk humbly, ask key questions, try to find long-term, sustainable solutions. Most importantly, we make sure that it is Haitians leading the charge. It is their country, and they must be the ones to “save” Haiti.
We’ve decided to dedicate a blog series on this topic; it will be somewhat of a manifesto. We will lay out our vision and how we think we can move forward and solve some of the these issues of extreme poverty in Haiti and the other countries in which we serve. It’s not easy, we do not have all the answers, we have failed so many times. But, we are committed to the process and we are committed to partnerships in this country. Finally, we are committed to helping the rest of the world help Haiti with dignity, respect and hope so we can break the cycle of poverty and see communities transformed through our local leaders.