Wednesday, January 22, 2014

True Poverty Lessons From Haiti

I have been asked by several to share some thoughts on my trip to Haiti. Delivering babies in a third world country is eye opening and I learned a lot professionally. What I really want to share is some deeper observations beyond baby stories. If you are interested keep reading.

While in Haiti I saw poverty unlike anything I have seen in the slums of Detroit or Cleveland. The poorest of our country is rich by world standards. Let me say that again. The poorest of our country is rich by the rest of the world standards.  I get that in the United States we are witnessing class warfare and it makes me sick.

Most of us are reaping what we sow. Now before you throw me under the bus let me explain. We make choices in life that reverberate throughout our lives. Education is one example. Statistically speaking if you chose to get a college degree you will make well over double in salary, than if you chose not to go for higher education. That is a simple fact that neither political party can debate. Getting a good education is your ticket out of poverty. I have encouraged many young men and women who are being raised in a cycle of poverty to rise above and get into school. It can make a huge difference.

Most people in our country have the ability to get food that they have not paid for. There are many churches that have soup kitchens or homeless shelters that provide food. We do have a safety net here in our country and not just one.  In most cities you can be fed. You can also get help getting a place to live. When we served a congregation in Lansing we worked with a woman's shelter. Anyone who stayed at their shelter were given training for jobs and then given apartments that they either paid nothing for or a small stipend. They were also given jobs.

In Haiti there is no safety net. None, zip, zilch, nada. There are no jobs period. The government is so inefficient that the local government building is set in a beautiful park like compound all ready to go but has sat for two years waiting to move in. If the government can't even get their own building up and running what makes you think they can help the population?  There are no food programs.

We would have Mama's come in who were not nursing their babies and when questioned some of them said they were out looking for food. That is true poverty. I set up my own little food program in Haiti after finding out the situation. The 50 pound bag of beans that I bought out on the street had an American flag on it. They were donated bags given by our government that fell into the hands of the drug lords who then sold them out on the streets. The 25 pound bags of rice were the same thing.

You think our country is corrupt you need to go oversees and see what corruption looks like over there. There are no McDonalds to go to and flip burgers. There are no janitorial jobs in schools or garbage collection jobs to get. There are no government jobs or local jobs.

So what is poverty? That is the question we will tackle tomorrow. Until then.
In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".


  1. I think all Christians in America would benefit so much from a mission trip to such a place as Haiti. It gives a new viewpoint that is priceless and life-changing. Keep sharing the truth!

  2. I agree, Jen.
    If we could send a few US politicians there, our country too, would benefit.
    Cheryl A.