by Kayla Raymond
I am heading back to Haiti today and am anxious to get back. I had 2 great weeks here with family and friends. I got to watch my little brother play two football games, had good friends from college come visit, and got to indulge on grandma’s homemade cinnamon rolls.
Before coming back, I was warned that adjusting would be difficult. I didn’t know what to expect out of this, because I was anxious to be back in the States and have some time to relax. I found this myth to be true and struggled with the pulling and aching of my heart and mind. How, you might ask…this is how:
1.) Food Overload – for 3 months I never once ate at a restaurant in Haiti, upon arrival in Ft. Lauderdale I had a near panic attack because I couldn’t even decide which restaurant I wanted to eat at!
2.) Fingernail Polish – I wanted to buy a new fingernail polish for fun. It took me 20 minutes to decide which color I wanted, but I ended up not even buying any. I went shopping a couple days later with a friend and it was her who helped me choose. I’m not good at dealing with quantity anymore.
3.) Sandals – I needed new sandals because I had worn out all my other ones. After buying two new pairs, I felt ashamed because the faces of all the kids who asked me all summer for a new pair of flip-flops still didn’t have any.
4.) Nachos and a beer – I enjoyed supper and a beer with 3 of my closest friends one night in Sioux Falls, but the casualty of the night shamed me with guilt and I missed my boys.
5.) Technology – We have 3 tv’s and each member in my family now has a labtop. Isn’t that ridiculous?
6.) Material possessions – Everywhere you turn in the United States you are bombarded with “stuff”. You can’t get away from it and everyone strives to have it all. It’s like a war. We’re losing. We have closets stuffed with clothes, shelves lined with fancy shoes, dressers overflowing, cupboards stocked with the greatest last deal, garages with shiny, nice cars, but we still don’t have enough.
….I think you get the point. I struggled. I don’t want you to think that I don’t love every moment I have with my family and friends and I still love doing fun “American” things. I also had my own dose of retail therapy, but this is me being honest and what I struggle with. I keep this anger bottled up most of the time, but we seriously live in a society where we always want the next big and cool thing. Why do we feel this way, when we already have it all? We have awesome homes. They’re not made out of tarp and dirt floors, they have air conditioning, they have carpet, they have running water, sinks, washer and dryers, and toilets. We have smooth highways, interstates and sideroads that are paved. We have sewer systems and clean streets. We have stop signs, police who make us obey the rules and everyone has a vehicle to drive. We have full bellies and a hospital nearby incase we get an upset stomache. We have access to eye doctos, dentists, vaccinations, safe water to drink, fully stocked grocery stores and movie theatres with buttery popcorn. And most importantly, we have ice cream.
Take that all away and then some… Then you will find how the poor really live. It is sad and so unfair that we get it all, while there are so many people who fight for their lives everyday. As I head back, I’m reminded of why I’m living there. I’m not changing the world, but it sure does feel good to know that I’m needed somewhere.
That’s why I love Haiti:
Your only choice is rice and beans in a village, they don’t wear fingernail polish, they wear shoes without the soles, they aren’t evaporated in a society full of technology and “stuff”. They’re simple people, living simple lives, just trying to get by.
Until next time,