Wednesday, January 20, 2010

God Bless the Haitian People

When I started this blog in 2006, I decided to be anonymous for many reasons, but one of the most important to me was that I don't like to be the kind of expat who whines constantly about life in her adopted country. While life in Haiti always had its frustrations, my family had chosen to be there and in general we were very happy. Many years ago I read a book about Africa that did not name the country it was describing and a preface explained that the author did not want to draw attention to the aspects of a developing country that the people there were trying hardest to change. As a missionary kid myself, I know what it is like to have outsiders criticizing the country that you love. I explained some of my reasoning here.

Now I am trying to draw attention to Haiti, and trying to encourage my few readers to reach out to the people there in their time of great need. I don't have lots of readers like Tara or Leslie (especially now she writes for Esquire) or Sean or Corrigan, but maybe some of my readers, who come here to read my book reviews or catch up on the latest in the highly important controversy over whether reading Twilight is good for kids (in other words the trivia which mostly fills this blog), will be able to think of Haitians as people just like them, except maybe stronger, more resilient, and more filled with faith.

That's how I think of Haitians. I know that they put me to shame with their faithfulness to God, their acceptance of hardship without complaining, their focus on people instead of on things. In those early nights after the earthquake, once we had started sleeping inside again, I would wake up in a panic, my heart racing, unable to stop crying. I would spend hours like that, and then in the morning as soon as I could without waking people up, I would go outside and pray and talk with the people living in my yard, people who had lost friends, family members and houses, and I would find myself encouraged. They woke singing each day, praising God for sparing their lives. Although they also woke in fear with each aftershock, they mostly slept peacefully because their trust was in God. And throughout each night I would hear others praying and singing, songs like "Showers of Blessing," which seemed wildly inappropriate to me, in the circumstances. How could they find blessing in the lives they were living? They were sleeping outside because they were afraid to go inside, and some had lost their homes. They still are sleeping in those conditions each night, under a tarp and a mosquito net.

When I left the country, I promised these people that I would tell about them, begging people to pray for them and to donate to the relief efforts. Pat Robertson may think they deserve what they get because of an incident in their long-ago history, but I urge you not to listen to him. Please, please, help these strong, beautiful, wonderful people.

1 comment:

Janet said...

Ruth, did you hear this story yesterday?

A further example of what you're saying.