That's what we do here - learn. Just when we think we're starting to "get" Haiti and we let ourselves feel a teeny bit confident, we are shown how very little we understand this culture.
Last week the main point on the agenda for our team meeting was the theft of about 30 of our relief buckets. It seems that as the distribution truck was leaving our depo (warehouse) in Croix-des-Bouquets, a small group of people blocked the road with rocks, forced the truck to stop and stole the buckets... Our material aid distribution folks then called the Croix-des-Bouquets police to accompany them as a security measure. To add insult to injury, the police kept the truck, demanding that they be given relief buckets as well.
Well, Ben and I were outraged by this - theft! corruption! - and were promptly humbled by the response of our Haitian colleagues, which was to acknowledge that the people in that community and the police are also earthquake victims, probably in nearly as much need as our intended beneficiaries (after all, who knows when the police will actually be paid) and that perhaps we should be making sure that the people living around our depo are receiving aid. The Haitian sense of justice and of equality is very different from our own. Where we see corruption that needs to be dealt with, our colleagues see an opportunity for a more equalized distribution of resources.
Just to be clear, I am still not condoning what I still believe to be the theft of our relief supplies. I do, however, think that this has been yet another lesson for me in cultural understanding. Here's to being stretched and transformed into more culturally sensitive people. Someday? I'm keeping my fingers crossed on that one even as I doubt that I will ever truly get there.