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Haiti On My Mind: Tragedy & Poverty Make a Dangerous Mix, So We Pray

Last night, the children and I said a special prayer. I mean, we pray every night. But last night called for a down on your knees, prostrate yourself down on the floor type of prayer. You know the kind where you know you need to be in the most humblest of positions for what you have to say.

Our prayers were for the people in Haiti. And of profound deep gratitude for our own lot in life.  

I made the mistake of OD-ing on CNN yesterday. And it made me sick.

Anyone else feeling some kind of way?

And the pictures, videos and reports coming in from Haiti, were just  heart-wrenching. The devastation is beyond comprehension. And so is whatever is slowing down the relief efforts. 

I watched CNN medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta tend to a 15-day old baby girl with a head laceration. The baby girl’s mother had died. The baby, thankfully, didn’t have a skull fracture, according to Dr. Gupta, but needed antibiotics. There weren’t any around.

I watched a young teenage boy watch helplessly as several men tried to rescue his sister from under a large slab of concrete. Only her feet were visible. But you could hear her yelling out in pain.

I watched men collecting and carrying bodies in a white tarp, and then putting the bodies into a bulldozer scoop. Yes, a bulldozer.  When the bulldozer is full of bodies, it is raised and the bodies are dumped into the nearby dump truck.

How can humans be treated this way?

This is tragedy. But it is also a deadly mix of tragedy and poverty in a country that seems to have had more than its fair share of both.  The recent 7.0 magnitude earthquake that rocked the Haiti’s capital city, Port Au Prince is just the most recent painful development. Last year, it was back to back hurricanes that wreaked havoc on Haiti’s most fertile region. And long before that Haiti’s history has been a history of coups, flawed elections, corrupt governments, various military occupations and high crime.

Though these sad but true facts about Haiti’s mismanagement and poverty receive more media air time, we should know Haiti's true story. Haiti has world-renowned artists and musicians, and a storied history of political defiance.  Haiti is actually the first post-colonial independent black-led nation in the world. Did you know the country was created when former slaves defied Napoleon when he reversed the 1794 emancipation decree of the French Revolution?  The former slaves defeated an army led by Napoleon’s brother-in-law, breaking away from powerful France—the only nation’s whose independence was gained by a successful slave rebellion.  Imagine a country run by black men at a time when slavery ran rampant.

Today, the desperation is beyond belief. Needed supplies and relief are slow to reach the needy. And, once again, we can't stop asking, Why??

There’s so much we don’t really know about Haiti and why it is as it is, but one thing I’m certain of. Haitians are resilient, and strong.  They have a strong sense of pride, family and community. With such an earnest beginning, you can only imagine their strength. We know what Black people from any country are made of.

As a mother, I feel deep compassion for the women who may be searching for their children. For children searching for their parents.  As in so many cases, it is often the children who are the greatest victims.  In our “woes” as mommies in America, we take so many things for granted.

I don’t know what it feels like to have your home completely destroyed, to have no water or electricity, to have lost loved ones in minutes, and to de displaced in such an extreme manner. I don’t know what it must feel like to live in a place where you have to wait for emergency rescue to arrive from other countries.  

I pray that with God’s grace I am never in those circumstances.

But, if so, I am doing what I hope others would do for me.

Be compassionate.

Donate what you can.  (I've given to the Red Cross and Wyclef Jean's Yele Haiti fund)

And pray incessantly. 

Please share what you are doing.

3 Responses to “Haiti On My Mind: Tragedy & Poverty Make a Dangerous Mix, So We Pray”
  1. Ann says:

    These are our brothers and our sisters. You wrote this post as if you were of another race! Where is the anger! Where is the uproar that human life was wiped out and are being thrown away like trash. Black bodies!! Our precious black bodies-like we are slaves again. That’s what’s happening as I type.

    I’m angry! Blacks have no media of their own.

    Many Black Anericans have placed themselves far away from this.

    What a shame and such sadness,

    • Kimberly says:

      I’d have to say that we are right in the middle of this, and I’m not sure if having our own media changes the level of devastation or Haiti’s tragic history. I am outraged, trust! But that alone won’t change matters. I think the people of Haiti need our help and our funds more right now. Let’s save lives, get people clothed and fed, and with adequate medical supplies, and then we can act on our outrage and try to rebuild.

  2. I totally feel you. I watch CNN, Good Morning America, and Nightline, listen to NPR, read blogs and the New York Times all day ily and I’m just saddened and frightened for the people of Haiti. My daughter and I made blankets for survivors during Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service at Spelman College. And I’ll be donating to Yele. I’ve blogged about it and shared stories with others. I have friends who were literally over there pulling children from unstable structures. Its just amazing and alarming. Like your family, mine stays in prayer.

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