Life on the Road
For the last six months, we have read every sad story imaginable about Haiti and its orphans and widows. We have been frustrated alongside relief workers who can’t get supplies into the hardest-hit places. We have felt the confusion of the government, which wants to rebuild but is paralyzed with fear of creating an entire country of slums. We have wondered, alongside NGO’s from countries all over the world, whether or not government groups are working in the best interest of Haiti.
But this story stands out from the rest. This story is about the Haitian men, women and children living on the road.
I don’t mean wandering tribesmen or car-dwellers – I mean the people who live in tents literally on the street, as the New York Times reported on July 10.
It is a modern-day Good Samaritan story. Cars pass from dawn to dusk, cruising beside tents belonging to the displaced least of these without stopping to offer help or a safer place to sleep.
Living in a tent on the street is a deadly trap – car crashes kill families and destroy the little that survivors have left. Mothers try, unsuccessfully, to protect their children’s noses from the toxic fumes.
It is easy to become apathetic in hearing about these people’s plight. Most of us know nothing of that suffering and don’t know what we could do to help.
But there are two things we could do: learn, and go.
We can learn from this story because the country of Haiti is made of normal people like you and me who are broken and hurting. They are able to drive by their fellow Haitians on major highways, knowing that one slip of the wrist could kill a whole family or that a few more breaths of gasoline could ruin a child.
In what ways do we do the same thing to the poorest people of our own countries? How can we know what to do with the sufferings of Haiti until we learn what to do with the sufferings of our closer neighbors?
Once we have learned how to be Good Samaritans on the roads of our own towns and villages, or even if we have no idea how to love others or where to start, we can go. We can go to Haiti, literally and in prayer, and join the efforts of making a safer home for these families.
What are ways we can learn to love our neighbors better?
Have you been a part of the relief efforts in Haiti? What do you think the country needs most right now as it rebuilds?
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