Haiti changed who I am. It will always hold a special place in my heart.
This feeling of despair and hope likens itself to a hurricane in my emotions, swirling their coldness and heat, affecting my demeanor.
I curl up on Liv, my head in a pillow, my body is splayed out as she rubs my back in comfort as I watch Anthony Bourdain get his first real experience of Haiti.
He was there shooting No Reservations, in Port Au Prince, on the outskirts at a local food stand. When you are in Haiti, and blanc, you will be watched, called out to, mocked, appreciated, adored, hated. You will feel emotions from every stranger wash over you, that is those of less affluence.
He was eating with his guide, a local rising star in the Haitian movie industry. The kids were everywhere hawking not at Anthony, nor his guide, but the styrofoam and food. First three or four, then nine or ten. Tony began to notice, and feeling like he could do something, something good, something easy, something he should do, he decided to feed them all. He bought out the rest of the woman's food and would pay her for every plate she could muster up.
This is where the tension came in. I was shaking my head, I dig my nose into the pillow as Liv rests her hand on top of my head. I know what's going to happen, what always happens when hungry people see free food......
Tony said something in the show that was perfect, absolutely perfect.
Poverty makes people feel broken inside. That is the true earthquake of Haiti.
While he was speaking with Sean Penn, he also said something that stuck with me.
There is a history of aid failure in Haiti. But, there is a history of aid failure in the world. This is our neighbor, our opportunity to show aid can work.
There are a few lessons repeated to me, and maybe taught for the first time to others who watched, if they really watched. You don't fix problems such as Haiti in one day, or one year even. You fix it in generations. Just because something is easy and makes you feel good doesn't mean it's the right thing to do. It means you should find something else that will make you feel good for the rest of your life, that will fulfill you, if that is what you want. There is certainly a place for the people that want this instant gratification, but, please, be prepared for shallow satisfaction, a fleeting contentment. You will not fix the problem, you will actually perpetuate the problem, most of the time. But, it is not wrong, how could it be? Yet, it is. I don't really know the way to express this.
Please, go experience it for yourself, perhaps you'll understand.
Check out the NGO two of my best friends and I have recently started. @ http://helpingoneworld.wordpress.com - CEED - Children Education Empowerment Development