I wrote a post a few weeks ago about the harms of calling our sisters and brothers in other nations names that would suggest that they are not as good as us or not living up to what we think they should be like. Since then, I have been doing a lot of thinking about what we should be saying. Because, there is certainly a temptation to just stay home and not do it at all if we can’t get it right.
Luckily for me, my friends in Haiti inspired me by posting some of their pictures from their most recent tank build. Since we are, right now, not in Haiti but at some leadership meetings (and won’t be in Haiti until December), it means so much that they keep us updated. So, here are some things I am calling my sister:
Hopeful This village is one without water, or access to many things at all. People walk two hours, one way, to get water for their day. Our Justice Water guys (and really, the nation of Haiti) is one full of hope. Hope that the small “mustard seed” acts they are performing will multiply and take over everything. Hope that there’s more going on than just physical change- but spiritual and emotional wholeness as well.
Hard Working I used to think that Ryan and I were hard workers. Then, I went to Haiti. Our Haitian friends are, without a doubt, some of the most hard working people ever. No, they are not impoverished because they lack dedication and are lazy. I have built tanks with them, worked side by side with them, and they are so incredibly hard working. Good job putting us to work!
Fun Loving and full of joy. For reals.
Honest Yes, you read that correctly. Honest and full of integrity. Ryan and I were able to hand over the Justice Water Haiti funds for these tanks when we were just down there and know that the funds would be appropriated and accounted for- down to the penny. We are so thankful to work with such honest people. But, the story doesn’t stop there. From leaving iphones on public transport and having them turn around to deliver it to getting the correct amount of change, Haiti is actually full of honest people.
Giving of their time; gifts; homes; love. The list goes on and on. I am especially thankful for the gift of music that many of them share. Please, it’s amazing.
Innovative These forms were originally designed by who knows, then tweaked the way we do it in Justice Water by Ryan (quite the innovator himself) and then were tweaked again to the way the Haitians create them- and they’re awesome! The forms for this tank allow the tank to be completed with structural integrity at many sizes as well as go up quickly. Pretty neat.
Imparting I know many Westerners who, once they learn a skill, use it to be in power over another person. Knowledge is power, right? In Haiti, it is the same way, but often times, it is seen as more powerful when more people know. One of the Justice Water values is training and teaching locals about the system, and these guys do a great job because it is already so much a part of their culture.
There’s so much more I could write, but these are the things I see in my sister Haiti today. You have so much to offer the world and your nation.
No, Haiti (and us as Westerners) is far from perfect. There are still crazy situations and things happening. There are still people who might not be this way. But, for us, we call out what’s good and we choose to continue to tell our friends how well they are doing. After all, when they look at us, they do the same.