Finding hope in Haiti

Feb. 24
Bill Dowling, Fuller Center volunteer

Yesterday we poured the footer so there is an actual outline of a building.  Today, the walls will start going up.  It should be a good day.

We live in a protected world here. The Grace International facility where we are staying is surrounded by a high wall with security guards who keep us in and the natives out, although we can look out into the tent camp.  We travel to the work site in the Blue Cage, feeling safe but a bit isolated. However, we see the broad range of Haitian life. The trip is short, maybe 15 minutes, but each drive we see new things. We are reminded that Haiti has many problems:

~ The earthquake devastated an already fragile country, resulting in rubble everywhere and endless tent cities.

~ Haiti has too many people. There may be rural areas but everywhere we’ve been is overcrowded and hectic

~ It’s terribly polluted. Garbage is everywhere, with open air trash burning dumps and open sewers.

~ There is no work. We’ve heard estimates of 80% unemployment. People everywhere try to sell a small sample of consumer goods or food but there seems to be little industry.

~ It’s politically unstable.  The government seems corrupt, if not altogether absent. On each trip we pass a U. N. security vehicle that resembles an army tank.

Despite all of this, we also see constant signs of strong spirits and sweetness. Schoolchildren in immaculate school uniforms greet us as they walk to and from their homes. Gary the laborer is the hardest and best-natured worker we’ve ever seen. And our hosts at Grace International are doing their best to bring order to chaos and improve the lives of their constituents.

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