Making a Difference?
Carol reports from Haïti in November 2014
There are moments in Haïti where I feel that I could totally give up. Moments when I wonder if I am making a difference. The drive from Port-au-Prince to Liancourt is evidence of everything that is wrong. There is garbage on the sides of the road, the smell of hot oil and charcoal fires permeates the air, as roadside vendors continue to use wood or charcoal to prepare food, adding to further deforestation by cutting trees for fuel.
As I drive along the road weaving in and out of the heavy and totally unruly traffic, glad that the car is air conditioned, and I do not have to breath in the black smoke coming out of the exhaust pipes of most cars, I can’t help but notice the amount of children on the streets who are engaged in some kind of work such as carrying buckets of water, washing cars, vending, or just begging. I feel overwhelmed.
Three hours later, I arrive at the training center of the Peter-Hesse-Stiftung in Haïti and my despair begins to wear off as I enter the gates of a very different environment. I have a meeting with the staff. We plan the syllabus for the school year, and afterwards the conversation turns to the earthquake and the hurdles involved in building the center. On of the teachers talk about how much the trees that we planted have grown. “Let’s take a picture”. She stands next to the citrus trees, and I take a picture. My frustration diminishes some more.
Citrus trees in May 2013
Citrus trees in November 2014
The next morning, I awake, and the student-teachers are watering the plants.
I breathe a sigh of relief knowing that these environmentally friendly practices would be passed on to the children they will teach.
Later on that day I drive to Gonaives to visit the two new schools that started this year October 2014.
I see the children working and I am humbled, and I think “Those little ones are like the trees. It will take some time, but we will eventually see the results.”
I reminded myself that this year alone we have added 103 new children to the programme.
I guess we can’t solve all the problems, but we can help to make a difference in the lives of many.