Tuesday, July 13, 2010



I have visited my share of third world countries, but when I hit the ground in Haiti, I was in shock. Haiti was bad before the earthquake. And now there are 1.7 million people without a home. The magnitude of it all is incomprehensible. It was very difficult to look at. And I'm usually pretty good at looking at things.

Believe it or not, however, the biggest culture shock of all was coming back to the United States. It always is. At least it is whenever I return from a land of the "have nots".
Ron (my colleague) and I experienced the following:
  • We slept in a tent for 5 nights on ground covered with gravel.
  • We did not change clothes daily, as extra clothing would take up too much precious space. I wore the same pants all week.
  • Ate peasant food for 5 days (although I happen to like it).
  • Rode in the back of pick-up trucks over roads not suitable for oxen -- our "air-conditioning" was 45 mph super-heated air.
  • Spent the entire day in the hot sun with temps at or above 100 degrees F. Night-time lows of 80 F.
  • Took daily medication to ensure we didn't get malaria.
I'm not complaining. We had it good great compared to the 1.7 million living in tents or under tarps. And I really believe I was meant to be there. I loved that about it.  Re-entry into my world of over-consumption, walk-in closets, three-car garages, air conditioning, three square meals, Big Gulps and Starbucks on every corner now seems way over the top to me. I am glad for that.

Later this week, I'll be staying at one of the nicest hotels in New York City. It was chosen for me by my client who will be in the same hotel. I'll have every comfort of home and then some.....and I'll be haunted by the hotel pictured above....and the dozens of people that may still be buried in it.

Haiti's estimated death toll -- 230,000 and still climbing.

I pray that Haiti never becomes a distant memory for me.



Jay said...

:( wow.

I get so frustrated when I turn on the news and see things like Lebron James or Tiger Woods or Kate Gosselin - THIS is NEWS. THIS should be broadcasted. Something should be being done - this story should be told until this is the past. But, it's still very much in the present, and maybe more painful for those that remain than it was when the earthquake was occuring. I can't imagine, I don't think that I want to.

Once again, thanks for the wake up call.

You took my breath away when you said there were people still buried in that hotel. That's unfathomable to me, takes my mind back to 9-11 - which is also still unfathomable to me.

I'm so thankful for a God that sees the sparrow.

Dan said...

Coincidently, Anderson Cooper (CNN) is broadcasting from Haiti all week. The title of the series is called "Forgotten Haiti". In fact, Monday night he was in one of the same tent cities that Ron and I were in. Very sobering stuff.....

Daniel Casares Román said...

Just great!

Ava said...

Wow, a death toll of 230,000 (and is still climbing), that is shocking and very sad also.

Thank you for keeping Haiti not to be forgotten.