People hear where I am going next week, and because all we know of Haiti is what we have seen on the news, their eyes widen at me, and we end up nodding at each other like, yeah, shit’s about to get real, man.
I received 9 immunizations this week, and I discovered that I am a big whiny baby. Typhoid, check. Hepatitis A and B, check. Cholera meds, check. Malaria pills, check. MMR, check. On and on. I came home, arms aching, and I drank water from the kitchen tap, richness. I’m borrowing a backpack from my pastors.
And one week from today – seriously, 7 days – I’ll be in Haiti.
This morning, I drove down Sumas Mountain, the mist was resting in the green valley, and this is the beauty I know well, the pine trees, the mountains in the early morning sunshine, the cold breath of autumn. I’m ready for new beauty, new tastes, new friends. I’m ready for Haiti. I think.
I watched an interview with JK Rowling the other night. She has a new book coming out, and it’s about class and poverty and prejudice in Britain. She said something in passing that stood out to me, it was something along the lines of this: we stop seeing Individual People when they are poor. No, we just see a class, we see a homogenous group.
We still think of the poor as a mass, so we may speak piously about The Poor, and yet we do not see them as real people. And in this way, they are easier to ignore.
Aren’t you tired of ignoring The Poor? I am. JK Rowling was right: I have been afraid of the poor because they were The Poor, they were not people to me, they were a cause or an issue or a problem at which to throw money and resources, something for The Professionals. Likewise, I have been able to ignore the orphan crisis because it is a big massive problem, too much for little me.
I’m ready to look into faces, eye to eye, I’m ready to hear voices, and I’m ready to be wrong, and I’m ready to have my stereotypes shattered, and I’m ready to repent, and I’m ready to be born again, I am ready to learn.
We’re going together, you and me, I think, at least that is what I feel. I feel like you are coming with me, and we are about to witness something good and holy and hard and real and personal.
And have you been praying for me? If so, thank you, because I am no longer afraid. Not really. I feel the fear shrinking in the face of what is to come.
You can follow along with the trip here (and download some support images for your own blog or Facebook page) or live through Twitter with the hashtag search of #Help1Haiti.