The Paradox of Haiti

On Thursdays I post from the vault. This post is from May 2008.


We have finally arrived in Haiti. It's really hard to describe Haiti. It is exactly like you see on tv, and nothing like you see on tv. It continues to be a country plagued by violence, political unrest, unemployment, hunger, and abject poverty. This has lead to a culture of dishonestly as a coping strategy, on large and small scales. There is a desperation that gives way to crime. There are kidnappings for ransom. People are robbed. Homes are guarded with armed men. You don't go out on the streets at night. You stay behind the gates as much as possible. There is also a spiritual opression here that is nearly palpable. Haiti has a long history with voodoo, and its presence permeates the island. That, along with the sweltering heat, sometimes makes it feel like the air is literally harder to breathe.

And yet . . .

There is still some unexplainable part in me that LOVES this country. The people are kind and friendly and generous. They are helpful and considerate. And just . . . likeable. And so, while I felt so freaked about before we came about all of the statistics, and news stories, and travel advisories against Haiti, when we stepped off the plane, I felt relieved. It's Haiti. I know this place. I like this place. We're gonna be okay.





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