We went on a cruise this week. I mean, it was work-related; I was playing. But still, we went on a cruise. My son’s teacher just gave him one piece of homework to complete over our week long trip: a cultural report on Haiti. This was our first stop on the cruise. I was pretty excited because we, as a church, have spent a lot of time and money supporting the people of Haiti over the last few years. I looked forward to seeing this country which had been through so much, that we had prayed for so often. But we didn’t actually see the Haiti I was expecting. We landed at a dock where the surrounding area had been leased by the cruise company for the next 99 years. Everything was geared toward tourists. They weren’t trying to show us Haiti. They were trying to show us what they thought we wanted to see, all the while keeping us very happy and comfortable.
I was proud that my son decided to write a paper comparing what he saw on the trip to what he researched Haiti to be really like. So he said things like, “I saw brightly painted buildings and everything was new and shiny.” “But most dwellings in Haiti are of a poor standard, as the majority of people live in severe poverty. Many houses are one floor high, square and small buildings made of the materials available in the nearby area, with no running water or indoor sewage system.” He talked about the food: “We ate hamburgers, hot dogs, and barbecue chicken. We did have a little rice and beans.” “Mostly, the foods eaten there include rice, beans, yams, and corn. Some of the wealthier residents may be able to afford pork and goat meat.” He wrote about the entertainment: “We played at a water park, played volleyball and swam in the ocean.” “Boys and girls both love to play soccer. Boys play it more because they have more time. Girls like to play rocks and bones. It is played similar to jacks. Kids also like to make homemade kites. Most of the time though they do chores such as getting water for the family.”
He was most excited about sharing with his class that over the hill and out of sight of the tourist section was a large fence with barbed wire and guards. This keeps our little tourist world safe from an invasion by real Haitians. It keeps us from seeing anyone who doesn’t have a uniform and a nametag.
I was grateful that my kid understands enough about the world to see through the facade they showed us. I hope he has as much wisdom in the rest of his life. I was proud that he wanted to explain to his friends the difference in “tourist Haiti” and real Haiti. I was thankful that after spending a week with people who were attempting to satisfy their every whim, he was still in contact with reality, with the difference between gluttony and need. And I was grateful that he wasn’t self-righteous about it. He wasn’t angry. He just wanted to share the truth with his class.
May I be as wise.
3 thoughts on “Visiting “Haiti””
You sound like a very proud papa, and rightfully so. Your son’s ability to discern the world around him with wisdom and clarity is a reflection of the values taught by his parents and church family. And the bonus is his character which is being developed deep within between him and God. I’m sure you will nurture those good qualities and encourage him with lots of verbal affirmation. We can learn a lot from children if we watch and listen. Sometimes it seems their hearts and ears are more open to the voice of our Father.
Rayne Simons, my ex-son-in-law and friend, and his wife Callie, were on that tour. On 3/4 Rayne gave me your signed CD (I’ll call it my 3/11 birthday gift) “How to be Loved”. Once again I am deeply moved by your music, your profound love for our Lord and Savior…moved and touched. Thank you for bringing your faith, and love for God and His Son into my life. It all started for me with “Grace Like Rain”, which reflected my faith. Thanks to Him, and to you, for strengthening my faith each time I hear your music. Wish I’d been on that tour…Happy Birthday to you on 3/15, and Blessings in all His abundance, to you in your next year of life, and always.