Working in Haiti can be exhausting. Contrary to what you may think, it is not the work with the children in our care that is exhausting. It isn’t the waking up early every morning to make breakfast and get them ready for school, it’s not the managing of staff or buying of groceries and cleaning supplies. It isn’t the running from one activity to another, whether it’s chess, tennis, church, or soccer. It’s none of those things. I’m tired of:
- Other missionaries, NGO workers, aid-workers, and the like, judging the activities of others, as if somehow your project is better than someone else, or you are doing it right and that other person is doing it wrong
- The disdain many people have in this country, almost all foreigners (not Haitian), who hold orphanages in contempt, as if every single one of them is taking children from their families and doing nothing more than providing one meal a day and a shredded mattress to sleep on
- The media, that constantly, and only, promotes Haiti as a country full of violence and poverty, that will never rise from the pit it is in to become a successfully operating country
It is no more dangerous to live in Haiti, than it is to live in New York City. It is no more dangerous to live in Haiti, than it is to live in Chicago. It is no more dangerous to live in Haiti, than it is to live in Miami. It’s so easy to see Haiti as a violent country, and not even think about Chicago, New York, and Miami that have some of the highest murder, armed assault, and violent acts rates in the world.
I always said this as a teacher. When you find that you don’t enjoy what you do anymore, then it is time to leave. If you don’t enjoy working with kids, imparting valuable knowledge, or collaborating with staff for the benefit of others, it is time to go. I feel the same way about any NGO worker, Missionary, aid-worker, etc. that works in Haiti. Can’t stand the traffic? Does the difficulty of navigating every government entity get to you? Do you feel that you are living compound to compound and not really living at all? If you aren’t in your right mind, there is no way that you can help anyone, man, woman, or child, reach their capability. Fix yourself, before you try to fix others, stick to what you know, and if you haven’t done it before, you probably don’t understand it, so stop judging.
And if you tell me, that after 10 years, 20 years, 30 years of working here in Haiti, you have finally figured out how to make everything wrong into a right; you’ve been blinded. All you can do is march forward, doing the best you can, providing what help you can to others, and hoping, in the end, that it all made a difference. And guess what, sometimes it didn’t. That’s called life.