Haiti's Greatest Resource
We met Collins in the mountains of Petionville. Eighteen years old, he walks two hours each way down and up the mountain to go to school in Port-au-Prince. He, too, had taught himself English, mostly through listening to music. The lack of schooling in the areas around the city makes this a common occurrence in the country. Children walk down mountains and through dusty streets in their impeccable uniforms to receive an education.
This determination characterizes Haiti for me. The poverty, the crowded streets of Port-au-Prince, the toil of people carrying heavy loads up and down the mountains as they go to and from the markets, are all overwhelming. But the people that we met were proud, faith-filled, and diligent. Haiti has many needs, but the Haitian people are a great resource. When Msgr. Pierre said, “Get something started,” he emphasized that we need to get something started with the Haitian people, not for them. And, in the process, we will learn a lot about the strength of faith and the possibilities of human solidarity in the face of disparity and hardship.