Saturday, October 13, 2012

poverty problem

It's Saturday morning, and here are five calls we've received so far today:
  • A community organizer that lives - or lived - in a displacement camp. Last night, in the middle of the night, the landowner sent guys in to light the camp on fire and forcibly evict all of the families living there. There was shooting (though no-one was injured) and violence. They don't know where to go or what to do.
  • A young photographer friend who recently published photos of a couple gang murders in his (rough) neighborhood. Since then, the gang has been after him. Last month they tried to grab him and ended up shooting him in the hip. Yesterday, they kidnapped his little brother. 
  • My friend whose daughter has undiagnosable mental issues and other teenage daughter just had a baby. The friend's blood pressure is so high that she has fainted several times in the past few days and hasn't been able to see a doctor.
  • Another friend who has been homeless since the earthquake, and is afraid that she is about to lose the space that that she and her family have been renting for their tarp shelter. 
  • The man who sells toilet paper, candles and crackers across the street needs to borrow money because his business is floundering and he has to pay his kids' school fees.

In Haiti tragedy after tragedy occurs as a lack of infrastructure, security and the basic services (like: affordable healthcare and education, housing, a functional JUSTice system...) that every single human being deserves.

The longer we live here, the more frequently we are called upon in times of crisis. Each and every time, we feel helpless. We can connect friends to human rights organizations or to journalists. Sometimes we can provide transportation or some money or help to fill out an online form. Sometimes all we can do is care. It never feels like enough.

Today is one of those (many) days that I am angry. Unreasonably angry that I - with my lack of resources and practical skills - am called upon again and again to meet needs that I cannot meet.

This is not just a Haiti problem. It is a poverty problem. It is the problem with an unjust economic system wherein so much wealth is concentrated among so few, while the majority on this planet face a life of grinding poverty and hardship. It is a problem of humanitarian organizations spending thousands of dollars on landscaping when people can't see a doctor or pay school fees. It's a global problem. And, like it or not, we're all a part of it somehow.


Anonymous said...

Wish I had answers. I dont. But can say you might be receiving another sort of call soon. JG arrived in PAP this afternoon and is carrying a little bit of love from me to you...hope you cross paths to claim it soon. Nap sonje nou la. Love, R

Hannah Guillory said...

I'm sorry, sweet girl. I pray for an extra measure of grace and mercy for your heart tonight as you wrestle with these frustrations.

Esther deGroot said...

I saw two Haitian women struting down the dusty shoulder of the road each wearing a pile of 20 ball caps on their heads for sale. The women were working and walked with pride I'm assuming because they are working in the modern marketplace. I had to look away in embarrassment that this (hats made in China bought once in NA and then bought and sold a second time in Haiti) is accepted as a marketplace. Every North American needs to see where cheap for us has gotten the majority world not to mention us. Esther

nerkert said...

That feeling of helplessness (with its accompanying guilt) may be the hardest thing about living in the developing world. You do us all a service with your blog by reminding us that the inequities are there whether we see them daily or not. Love you, Dearies.


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