Monday, May 27, 2013

Orevwa, bèl Ayiti

Goodbye, beautiful Haiti
How do you leave a place like Haiti? How do you leave a land filled with such beautiful people who have taught you so much and inspired you in so many ways? I’m sitting here reflecting and wondering how I’m ever going to return to reality. There have been so many moments where thoughts of Haiti would make my eyes well up with tears. It was only two weeks and yet I know I will never be the same again. I am eternally grateful to the people I met for all that they have taught me about humility, compassion, life and love. 
I’ve been back in the US for a day now, and the transition has definitely been difficult. It’s been hard to have all the comforts and luxuries of home after seeing the struggles and poverty of people who deserve so much more. I do hope that my time in Haiti will help me to be grateful for the opportunities that I do have, whether it is the opportunity  to travel, to eat out, drive, or even to turn on the faucet for water.
Staring out the window during my flight from Haiti… in a somehow perfectly timed moment… I looked out an saw a beautiful picture. I was watching the sun set on the horizon, with a layer of soft clouds that seemed to go on without end. If I could imagine heaven and what it might look like, this would have been it. 
It was an incredible sight. For me personally, it was a gentle reminder of the reassurance and hope that despite our suffering and struggles here on earth… it is all temporary. There is an eternal hope that extends far beyond what we see in the here and now. “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”  What a beautiful hope. 
A special thank you to all of you for reading and for supporting me in this journey. It means the world to me that I can share this experience with you. Now that I have seen what I’ve seen and learned what I’ve learned… I feel like I owe it to the people of Haiti to continue sharing their story and   think about how I can continue to help now that I’m home.
I have seen the adversity and struggles of the Haitian people and it has inspired me to think about my own life and how I am supposed to respond. Something that I’ve learned is that everyone has their own personal challenges; for many Haitians, it is a daily struggle to survive… it is anything but easy and comfortable. And perhaps for us… our circumstances have made it so that the challenge is not to be comfortable and complacent with how things are. Maybe our challenge is to fight for justice and equality in our world so that everyone can have a chance to live… to not let our abundance and fortune cause us to forget that happiness is made so much fuller if it includes everyone and not just some. 
I recently read an inspiring speech from the World Bank Group President, Jim Yong Kim. Here is an excerpt:

Injustice will not vanish “inevitably.” Injustice, said Dr. King, must be “rooted out by strong, persistent and determined action” spurred by “the urgency of the moment.”
As we set goals for our organization, goals for our collective effort to better serve the poor and vulnerable, we should reflect on Dr. King’s example.
We set goals precisely because nothing is inevitable. We set goals to challenge external obstacles—but also to defy our own inertia. We set goals to keep ourselves alert to the “urgency of the moment,” to push constantly beyond our own limits. We set goals to keep ourselves from falling into either fatalism or complacency—both deadly enemies of the poor.
If we act today, if we work relentlessly toward these goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity, we have the opportunity to create a world for our children which is defined not by stark inequities but by soaring opportunities. A sustainable world where all households have access to clean energy. A world where everyone has enough to eat. A world where no one dies from preventable diseases.
A world free of poverty.
It is the world we all want for ourselves, for our children, our grandchildren, and all future generations.
As Dr. King said, “the time is always ripe to do right.”  The opportunity is squarely in front of us.  We can and we must seize the arc of history and bend it toward justice. 
Thank for you for sharing this journey with me! I hope the beauty of the Haitian people has touched your life as much as it has touched mine.  

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