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Sunday, March 8, 2009

Something Is Just So Terribly Wrong With This...

I have shared numerous times here how I sponsor two great little girls through Compassion International. One from Uganda and another from Haiti. Both girls are great and bring a certain joy to my life.

Neither girl ever asks for anything more from me than prayers for them and their family. Although Sarafina, the child I sponsor from Haiti has asked one extra thing from me; that I come to Haiti to visit.

My first thought and response was, I just can't afford it, not anytime soon. Well, just out of curiosity I recently went to the Compassion site to see if any tours were scheduled soon and the cost. There is one exactly a year from now, and the cost is reasonable.

I figure if I give up a few of my "extras"(like my monsters!) I will have half the money. My husband generously has offered to help with the other half. So, as I was searching online to find out how to go about getting a passport, the website had some pretty severe warnings about Americans traveling there. It sure doesn't sound like a very safe place!

Now my curiosity was really peaked and I started searching for more information and photos of the country. I found THIS picture and I am just disgusted. PLEASE go look at it and read the authors notes. I would post it here, but it is a private work and I don't want to post it here without permission. It makes me sick. To get the full jest of it, look through some of the other photos. Here is this country which clearly has some beauty, yet most of the people are living in slums, with heaps of trash piled everywhere, no safety measures to protect those who live there, young children starving, and here are rich Americans and Europeans fat and stuffed lounging with protection on a "private" beach on this island. It is more than I can comprehend.

I am sure these people will go home to share how they visited the island of Haiti. But did they? They visited a kind of "fantasy" island, but did they visit the real Haiti? The one that the residents live and die in daily?

This makes me mad on so many different levels. One, the cruise line is probably making a killing on this private "fantasy" island, but are the residents of Haiti making any profit from this? Second, the tourists are fattening themselves up even more on the beach while stuffing their faces with the finer things of life, but are they going into the towns of Haiti and spending any of their money there where it may make a bigger difference in the life of a street vendor than it will for the already wealthy cruise line?

My husband pointed out that rather than me going to Haiti, perhaps I should spend the money to sponsor another child. I am struggling with this, as I see his point, but at the same time I feel so compelled to go, for so many different reasons, yet I wonder how much these people are struggling with feelings of guilt or questioning motives while they lay there in their fancy resort while right around the corner(literally) people are wondering if they will even have a meal for tonite?

There is just so much in this world I don't understand, and wonder if I ever will.


appleleaf said...

Yeah, isn't it shocking? Haiti is so synonymous with expensive tourist destinations. You have a big choice to make. (I was just reading that owners of the Gloria Jean's coffee shop chain are able to sponsor 250 children through Compassion. Wouldn't it be great to be wealthy enough to not need to make these choices?)
I loved the photos on your last post. Reminded me of taking little boys to the hairdressers. Austin has beautiful coloured hair! What a cutie.

Jennifer / jandjsoulmates said...

Oh, this just makes me so sick and so sad. :(