Could you imagine living on $2.00 a day? Could you imagine making no more than $1400.00 a year? This wage is not based off of your work ethic. This isn't a wage you earned because you are lazy. This wage isn't because you don't try. This wage is because you live in a country with an unstable government and outside forces exploit your hidden treasures.
We were set to embark on a mission trip to Haiti to complete a series of vacation bible studies for a group of Haitian orphans. Elated isn't a strong enough word to express how excited we were to be apart of such an amazing mission. With every vaccination that we needed to receive to protect ourselves from the dangers of malaria or food poisoning from unclean water, the realization of how bad the area really is started to become more real everyday. Google search after google search only seemed to show pictures of a broken community with no hope. Article after article expressed a need that the Haitian community had, without a real solution to the problem. I began to ask myself, "How did Haiti become so lost in the first place?". I really didn't want to know. Instead of researching, like most people, I just left it at that. A thought. Their problems were not my problems and my only goal was to help the orphans. The politics didn't matter to me.
This morning, we packed up the Snyder van with tools and gifts for the kids and headed to the RDU airport. I was concerned that I didn't pack the right clothes, or the right shoes. I was concerned that I didn't have enough hair product or enough bug spray. I was concerned that I wasn't going to be able to use my cell phone while away. I wasn't a tad bit worried about the actual mission that we were embarking and I was simply happy that I was going to have another stamp in my passport. I ignored the State Department Safety warnings about protests in the capital of Haiti and non chalantly parked my little happy self on the van and was ready to roll.
Once we arrived at the airport reality started to sink in. The flights to Haiti were cancelled. Okay, no problem. That's ok, lets just get to Ft. Lauderdale and wait for the next one. And then it happened, I actually picked up my phone and instead of texting, I actually researched the protests in Haiti. $5.00 per liter for gas. That's not even a gallon. $2.00 a week in salary. Women and children sell baggies of plantains on the side of the street for $.50. I heard it was bad. But I didn't know it was that bad. But why, let's take a look at the facts;
**Paraphrased from several articles I read online**Haiti was founded in 1804 by slaves who were simply trying to get away and have something of their own. They defeated the French, which was one of the largest armies in the world at the time. Haiti was known for it's amazing coffee and sugar and everyone wanted a piece of that pie. Instead of acknowledging that Haiti was it's own independent nation, country after country, including the US, tried to undermine it and battle them by exploiting and giving them raw deals. France forced Haiti to pay 150 million dollars to them at gunpoint for merely existing. Could you imagine being forced to pay for something you already fairly own? This happened on more than one occasion, so the government started off in debt and the government has never been able to overcome the turmoil. With a poor community, you have more crime. With out the proper tools and education, you can't become better. I would be bitter too if everything that I earned was at risk of being taken without my permission.
Today on the news, we saw the protests. We saw the fires. We saw the sticks and the guns. But do we see the hurt? Do we see the pain? Do we see the struggle? Our flight was cancelled and our trip ended up being cancelled all together, but guess what? I am able to go home to my house. I am able to get into my car. I am able to live my life with out fear of my children not getting enough to eat or being kidnapped for ransom. Instead of judging others, we need to learn the why? And get out of our selfish mindsets. I had to check myself today. I'm not going to give up on humanitarian efforts. I am not going turn my nose up to those who are less fortunate. I am going to learn as much as I can so that I can help. A mission trip and a few gifts won't change Haiti. Our love and compassion will. Our dedication to be servants will change the world. Service before self. If we aren’t serving, then I don’t know what we are doing.