What do politics really matter when it comes to life and death? Well, today a lot. Today because of some screwed up politics I have been stuck behind the walls of our gate instead of at the hospital with Bianka.
There are riots in Port Au Prince right now. People are mad and rightfully so. It has been 9 months and 7 days since the earthquake that shattered their lives. 9 months and 7 days since they slept somewhere other than a tent. 9 months and 7 days since they have lived the blissful life of not fearing every shift and rolling sound.
This morning at around 11:00 there was a jerk and a shake, another tremor. This was the second we have felt in the last week. It was strong enough to send the nannies and older children running outside. Strong enough to shake us and make us think those horrible what if’s all over again. “What if there were another earthquake now… where would I run, which children could I carry… what if it happens at night…what if this house falls down” We can drive ourselves crazy with the what ifs. We can worry ourselves into a panic that may or may not ever be justified. But the truth is the worry is there no matter what, the instant panic that fills your veins, can not be explained away. I can chose not to let it overtake me because I know the truth of the God who holds my life. But, would I be that confident if I were living in a tent, on a median as tropical flood waters raged through my home and swept away my neighbors children? I don’t know.
The Haitian people are angry, they are hurt and they are scared. This is their lives every day and they don’t see people helping. They see politics. They seen a President who does not care if they live or die. They see police officers who demand payment to investigate a rape that they care nothing about, an investigation that is unlikely to happen even after payment. They see brokenness and hopelessness. They see the corruptness of politics as it directly results to their lives, or deaths.
After the earthquake the eyes of the world were on Haiti and rightfully so. It was a tragedy unlike anything we had ever known. Hearts were opened and broken. We cared. “Aid From The American People” poured in…
But then something new happened and the world got distracted. The images were replaced by something more newsworthy. 9 months and 7 days later the tarps sent “by the American people” are still homes for most of the families in Port Au Prince, Carrefour and Leogane. Most of them are tattered and torn but they are all they have. It may not be true but to the Haitian people it seems they have been forgotten. The bit of hope they had heard was coming, over and over again is just a memory. They know they are on their own and they are desperate.
Over the last few days the people of Port Au Prince have been restless. The pouring rain and whipping winds each night just fuel the anger. The upcoming election gives them something to focus on. The riots that have risen have been a long time coming in my opinion. I think we have all been expecting them, waiting. They have had enough. They have watched enough of their women damaged, they have witnessed enough of their children wasting away, they have spent enough nights standing for hours in the mud and water praying for morning. They want change. They are begging, demanding it. The way they are doing it is wrong and dangerous but at this point they don’t see any other way. A cycle of pain and despair just continues.
Sometimes working in Haiti is so incredibly exhausting and pointless. Days like today it’s all I can do to put on a smile because I see the hugeness of what they need and the impossible task that I can not possibly accomplish. I see the rest of the world moving on when I can’t. I see children who are broken in a way that does not come from an earthquake or lack of food, but from the grief of the loss of the family that should be able to raise them. I am overwhelmed by all of it. Not just the last 9 months and 7 days but the entire history of this country. The cycle that was in place long before January 12th.
The world knows and cares about Haiti because something really, really bad happened here. But something really, really bad has been going on for a lot longer than 9 months and 7 days. Should be care about Haiti because they had an earthquake that caught our attention or should we care because there are houses upon houses that hold children who are starving for more than just rice? Should we care because we saw their haunted eyes for 15 seconds on TV or should we care because those are not just images but real life people? Maybe, we should care because they are mothers, just like you, who need some hope. Maybe we should stop seeing the problem and start seeing the people, it might make a world of difference.
Really, it’s not about politics. Unfortunately politics have an ugly power over this situation but corrupt politics hold no power over the passion for hope that we have the ability to possess. It’s about more than politics, it’s about lives. It’s about a little girl who is dying in the arms of someone who has been hired to sit with her, instead of someone who loves her. It’s about much more than a news report or a blog post. It’s about more than words or money it’s about Bianka.