Sunday, January 31, 2010

Do You Hear Me Now?

My mom told me she thought, "Do you hear me now?" would be a good title for an article about Haiti, and she's right. Because for so many years, the suffering of the Haitian people has largely been ignored by the world. And the suffering is brutal.

I'll never forget the time we were returning from a trip to Haiti. We were flying from Miami to Chicago, and I sat next to an American who had grown up in Kenya and was making his way back to Africa, oddly, via Chicago, but anyway. I told him where I had been. He actually shuddered and said, "I imagine there should be a sign at Haiti's entrance that says, 'Abandon hope all ye who enter here,'" which of course was what was posted at the entrance to hell in The Divine Comedy. There was so much pain, and suffering, and premature dying in Haiti before and now this.

Our friend Mary who has made her home in Haiti for half of the year for more than a decade returned to Ohio from her recent trip to look for people. Mary writes:

No words can describe the incredible devastation the earthquake and incessant aftershocks have left behind. No words can describe the brutal injuries so, so many people have suffered. No words can describe the agony mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends are experiencing as loved ones continue to suffer and die on a daily basis. No words can describe the distress these same family members are experiencing as they try to determine the whereabouts of love ones. And no words can describe the amazing faith and strength of the Haitian people. Maybe it's because they are already so accustomed to a life of misery that in ten days, I heard many prayers of thanksgiving, but not one whine or 'why us?' It seems like the whole world has responded and much relief has arrived. It's hard to know if it's getting everywhere it needs to. People can so easily fall in between the cracks. Recovery, if at all possible, will take years upon years. I hope the world doesn't forget Haiti again.

No, let's not forget Haiti again. We do hear you now.

Things can't get any worse
And then they do
But the bad times can't destroy hope.

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