Thank You For Coming
I felt compelled to redress one of Katie’s questions from our airport blog entry. She had asked me what was the best part of Haiti as a country. My answer was the history. But now having been here for only a week, I must change my answer to the people.
Several of the Haitians who have learned English, talk about how they volunteer in their neighborhoods to help others learn English. They express the edict that they must share their knowledge to help others. During offering at church they give money for the orphans of the quake; those who have so little, giving to those who have less.
Once as I stood on the street in front of a beverage shop (an abandoned shipping container converted to a store) working out in very bad French that I wanted 3 dlo(water) and 1lemon soda, a young man on a motorbike behind me tapped me on the shoulder and said Madam and pointed to my backpack with my zipper open and my ipad hanging out. Imagine that scenario in a poor city in America. Then there was the occasion I was in the Natcom store with an interpreter trying to purchase a Wifi device. We worked out that it would cost $24 US. While we were discussing the conversion rate, my $24 dollars sat on the counter. In the meantime, three men from the streets had come in and were trying to sell shampoo and perfume to the women behind the counter. These were very poor men and that $24 would have fed their family for a week.
They welcome us “blans” with grace and sincerity. I was stopped on the street fairly often just because someone wanted to chat or practice English. One young man even said “Thank you for coming” This sentiment was echoed throughout our stay here by the people of Saint Andre’s, ‘thank you for coming and thank you for helping’.
These people who have been through such economic depression, internally brutal dictatorships, injustice from other countries (not least of which is the US) and they are the kindest, friendliest and most honest group of people I have met.