Daniel and Amanda’s Weblog

March 11, 2008

Just like us

Filed under: Religion and Philosophy — theburts @ 4:44 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Haiti is a beautiful land with beautiful people. We caught glimpses of both as we traveled and worked last week. It’s also a place of extreme poverty, where living conditions are so horrible that thousands die from lacking food, clean water, medical attention, shelter, protection from crime, and other needs. These photos, to me, are depictions of how desperate the people are for anything people of privilege might give them, whatever that might be.

reaching.jpg

littlegirl.jpg

We saw over 600 people in the eye clinic alone, and ran out of all our meds and sunglasses. But that’s a small gift when you consider the huge need. On a medical mission trip like this, we can do so very little. It reminds us every time we go to Haiti that we live in complete luxury here in Tennessee, USA. And it reminds us that every unnecessary luxury we can joyfully live without is medical care or food or a well for those who desperately need. Imagining the possibilities if thousands of us Christians awoke and walked away from extravagant living doesn’t do much good…it’s just a “what if” scenario, a pretty daydream. What actually matters is when one person or family at a time decides to live faithfully and embrace the teachings of Jesus, loving and caring for their local and global neighbors. It’s an impossible mission to fix the world. But if each of us could learn to be so intent on loving the person we’re serving, one at a time, local or global, we wouldn’t have the time or energy to despair about the massive poverty that plagues our world.

The other lens through which we see Haiti every year is that the people are just like us. One of our team voiced the same thing one night, that when he looked at people in Haiti he saw people just like him. The way they joke and laugh, take advantage of free offers, go out for fun at night, try their best to succeed, and experience heart ache and joy and sorrow and pleasure just like we do. They don’t think of themselves as third world or poor, it’s just the way they live. Our kids play computer games while theirs stand on the side of the road close to a streetlight so they can read a book. We may have been born into privilege and they into poverty, but we’re all the same in everything except how our privilege allows us to live day by day. Here are some photos of what I’m talking about…

Children in Haiti enjoy sports at recess (and they’re quite competitive!)…
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Babies in Haiti laugh when tickled (by my wife)…

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Kids in Haiti can be shy…

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People in Haiti are curious…

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They have and enjoy beautiful sunsets and flowers…

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I think we need to look at our neighbors in Haiti and see ourselves. I do think we need to show compassion and love in using our resources to help when possible, but I also think we need to be careful about judging them as only a poverty stricken people that need assistance. They often lead full happy lives, have much to teach us about true happiness, hard work and contentment, and in so many ways are just like us…minus the gross overindulgence and luxury that makes America rich and proud. Let’s learn a lesson in humility before we feel an arrogant pity on these beautiful people, and let’s all be intentional about how we use our privilege to help them. (That’s more directed to self than anyone else)

I’m excited to learn more about medical missions (and I want to learn French/Creole!). Thanks to everyone who gave of their time, and especially gave of their hearts, to spend time in Haiti last week. We enjoyed  being with you immensely.

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5 Comments »

  1. beautiful….

    Comment by Christina — March 11, 2008 @ 9:53 pm | Reply

  2. So glad your back

    Comment by Ariah Fine — March 12, 2008 @ 7:09 am | Reply

  3. So well said. Every time I’ve traveled overseas, I’ve been surprised at how similar we all really are. We have so much in common with our brothers and sisters overseas, its only the details of our surroundings that change us.

    I like what you said about giving charity without pity. We have much that we can learn from them. They are rich in many ways that we are very poor.

    Comment by Jason J — March 12, 2008 @ 9:55 am | Reply

  4. I’m just starting read your blogs as a friend sent me your link. I live in Canada and have traveled to Haiti twice as well. Once in 2006 just after the election and again last summer when I co-led a group of ten to go. We spent the bulk of our time in a children’s hospital helping to feed, change and simply hold sick, malnourished infants and toddlers in Port au Prince. the people are a proud people and I fell in love with them and their country! Where do visit when you go?

    Comment by Laura — June 6, 2008 @ 10:02 am | Reply

  5. By the way, beautiful pics. I forgot to say.

    Comment by Laura — June 6, 2008 @ 10:03 am | Reply


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