The truth is hard. The truth is this; Aside from the occasional soup kitchen in high school, visiting old ladies in a nursing home and a “required” 12 hours of mandated service in college, I’m not a world class do gooder. I see things on TV and think oh that’s so sad at least its nimby (not in my backyard). We all suffer nimby to a degree, but for a stretch longer then I’d like to admit I’ve had a full blown case of it. Until I was asked to go to Haiti. The antidote, of course, to nimby is doing for others and not for you. Sure I did it to feel good and I do, but I did it to remind myself that there’s a great big world of real people that have nothing. Nothing. They have no real infrastructure, no houses, no regular paycheck, no security net, and no trash pickup and no where is that more evident and more obvious then in Haiti. Haiti an island 681 miles from the wealthiest nation in the world. Haiti the poorest country in the western hemisphere. Where poverty and national pride go together like a jack and coke, lemon and ice tea, the Captain and Tennille.
In Haiti they had nothing and they lost everything and have everything to lose on this latest crisis and yet they don’t just survive they thrive. The street markets bustle, the children laugh, the roosters crow, the adults smile and everyone says hello when you say hello. To be clear there is massive destruction, no credible form of government and a long, long (some estimates have it at 20 years) road to rebuild but Haiti’s a remarkably resilient country and resilient people are capable of remarkable things and in 16 days they reminded me of my own resilience.
We are all remarkable, we all have in us the capacity to give and don’t do it because someone tells you to, do it because its the right thing to do. Along the way we meet those that inspire, we work for those that motivate and we look for the right moment. There is never a wrong moment to help someone.
And you do not have to travel to a third world country or do what Clooney, Pitt and Jolie are doing to save the world. All WE have to do? WE just have to look up every once in a while. Oh and smile.