“Extreme Poverty in Rural Haiti”
I’ve been taking frequent trips to Haiti since 1995; usually, I visit Haiti two to three times a year. It hit me very hard this year when I recently went to Haiti early in January. The good team from Hope for Today Outreach and I visited about 130 homes distributing hygienic items to Haitian peasant families in a remote area (i.e. mountain) in Grande Rivière. The human condition is inhumane and quite depressing in that rural area. The level of suffering has grown over the years and touched every aspect of (peasant) life. The level of poverty that I witnessed in that area is disheartening and problematic.
I met a lady who is the mother of five children. Her husband was not home at that time. The family lives in extreme poverty. She and I share the same last name. About five years ago, she lost her home to a tragic rainfall. Her house was totally destroyed by the rain.
As a result, she and her husband relocated to the new area where I met her. She is renting her current home for $ 1500 Haitian dollars annually, which is equivalent to $ 80 U.S. dollars, annually. She is is unable to pay her rent and several months behind.The current home she is renting is made of mud, wood, and palm trees. It’s a tiny 2 bedrooms. The wall in one bedroom is severely damaged and collapsed. She has no beds inside the house; all the five children sleep on the hard floor in the tiny living room. There’s no toilet or kitchen. Some of her children were wearing very torn clothes, and the little girls had no underwear on. Folks, this is extreme poverty!
“Redefining Poverty and what It Means to be Human”
1. Being poor does not mean you are not intelligent and can’t contribute to human flourishing.
2. Being poor does not mean you can’t have big dreams and lofty goals, and that you have nothing constructive to contribute to society.
3. Being poor does not mean you can’t become somebody great in life and does not have a (political) voice.
4. Being poor does not mean you can’t beat the odds of life and overcome all the unfortunate circumstances in your life.
5. Being poor does not mean you are linguistically deficient and psychologically unfit for society and upward mobility.
6. Being poor does not mean you are not a person and does not have dignity.
7. Being poor does not mean you should allow people to mistreat and disrespect you just because you are poor.
8. Being poor does not mean you’re a hopeless individual and that your life has no meaning.
9. Being poor does not mean you are not beautifully and unwanted.
10. Being poor does not mean God is done with you.
Grace and peace!
Dr. Celucien L. Joseph