Friday, April 9, 2010

The Traveling Pants

Last week I had the privilege of being allowed to help load a container bound for Haiti. I loved holding the items that people had sent and picturing the joy and relief they would bring. I loved closing my eyes and seeing faces of specific people who I knew would find excitement in a particular item. I loved holding something in my hands and knowing it would soon be in the hands of someone who needs it!

In one box I came across a pair of jeans. As I carefully refolded them to be packed into the pile of women's clothes I noticed something very special about them. They were maternity jeans. For some reason this hit me hard. A woman here in North America once wore those pants as she prepared for the life growing inside her. She felt her baby kick and move and she planned for him. She thought of all the things she wanted to show and teach him. She painted a room and set up a crib. She dreamed of all the things he could do. Soon, those pants will be worn by another woman. A woman in very difference circumstances. A woman who will feel her baby kick and move and who will worry for him. A woman who will watch as the day of her child's birth comes closer, and she continues to survive under a tarp in the mud. There will be no crib, there will be no soft of a cloud blankets. Instead, there will be hunger, pain and fear. No doubt she loves the child within her as much as any mother can, but after living in a world none of us come even come close to imagining, the extent that she allows herself to truly dream are limited. She is too used to the world she knows to truly let herself believe the good she has heard exists. A world where it is uncommon for a child to die, a world where diarrhoea does not take the life of a baby on a regular basis, a world where every bone protruding from their little bodies is not the norm, that world does not exist to her. She has heard of it, but she has never seen it.

Yes, there is a big difference in the women who share these pants and the children they bear. They are different but more so, they are the same. They are women who dream about the future, dreams that are not much different from each other. They dream of a life for their children where they can do whatever they want to do, and be whatever they want to be. They dream of the things they will learn and the things that will bring them joy. They dream of their first smiles and steps. They dream of feeling their chubby little arms wrap around their necks and their little voices professing their love. They dream of them truly living!

For the woman who entered a clean, well lit store and took money out of her pocket and purchased these pants, her hopes for her baby are pretty much a given. The chance of her child starving to death while she sits powerless is unimaginable. The idea of him dying of typhoid, malaria or cholera is so foreign it will never cross her mind. He will go to school, there is no reason he couldn't. He will grow up to be anything he wants to be.

For the woman who will receive these pants the picture is so different. She will stand in a line for hours, surrounded by others who are searching for hope. She will walk away with the few things she is given. A small bag of rice, some oil and a pair of pants. They have made a journey from one world to another. She will wear them and they will stretch as her belly swells. If she is one of the "lucky ones" her baby will be born alive, weighing around 4lbs. Maybe he will survive to see his 5th birthday. Maybe by some miracle he will find a way to attend school. Maybe he will eat every day. Maybe he will grow up.

Today, this is the hope that Haiti has, but it doesn't have to remain this way! Haiti can rise from where she is! It is huge, but it is not impossible. It can be done but it will not be easy. It will not happen if we do nothing but sit in our homes and look at their pictures, read their stories and think about how sad it is. It will happen if we rise up to make it happen! It will happen if we decided it is worth the work. It will happen if we give up the things we "need" to come alongside them. It will happen if we make their pain our passion. It will happen if we do something!

Do you want to do something? Tomorrow in Saskatoon there is a group of people who are packing another container to send to Haiti. You can help. You can have the honor of folding, sorting and sending items that are desperately needed. You can touch something that will save the life of someone in Haiti. You can place something in the back of a semi truck that will bring hope and happiness to a person who needs hope to go on. You can help save and restore Haiti.

If you want to help go to 519 Ave L South (Westower Communications) at 10am tomorrow. You will work hard and that work will directly result in a difference being made in someones life! You can help change the future for Haiti!

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