Friday, May 30, 2008
Tonight we had been invited to a dinner to celebrate a good friend's graduation. He is one of the the sons of the family responsible for bringing Pipo into our lives. I had spent the day feeling out of sorts and sorry for myself. It had been one of those weeks where we decide which bills should be paid, which ones will need to wait. I was feeling very, very poor.
We arrived at the dinner, which was held at a gorgeous country club in the next town over. "Tonight at least..." I thought to myself, "tonight I will eat well." The kids were full of energy in the warm Spring night so we let them run around the quiet golf course a bit before we sat down to eat. I watched as they ran across the lush green fairways, looking for turtles in the beautifully maintained man made water hazard. Finally, it was time to eat and we all sat in the spacious restaurant of the club.
During the course of the meal, Fitz asked Conor (who still lives in works in Haiti) about the conditions there with the food issues. Conor immediately stated "It's terrible." He told us how Fond des Blanc, the small village where Pipo is from, is in the worst shape of all. It is very rural, and what meager supplies that are brought in by the US government rarely make it out that far. He told us of a recent shipment of "protein biscuits" that were delivered from Unicef and distributed at the local schools. For many of the children, it is there only nourishment of the day. I looked down at my smoked salmon with spring vegetables, and was suddenly incredibly humbled. I was embarrassed for my feelings earlier in the day.
Conor went on to tell us of a main road leading into Fond des Blanc. The road passes a large lake, next to which are dry, arid fields. It would take so little to tie into the lake, irrigate those fields and triple the crops. But the money is just not there. I looked back outside at the lush greens of the golf course, the man made water hazards. The stark contrast of those two images have not left me all night.
Pipo asked about his grandmother, still living in Fond des Blanc. He asked about the exchange rate for US dollars in Haiti. And then he pulled out his wallet... $20 he earned last weekend cleaning out the shed. He handed it to Conor, and said "give this to her... she can buy a lot."
Once again... humbled. I sit here in the middle of the night, unable to sleep. We call ourselves the richest country in the world. But how often do we stop and think... really think about that? I know I wasn't thinking about it today, as I went about my day feeling sorry for myself.