By Laura Adams
Imagine for a moment, flying over a land of rolling hillsides – but these hillsides have no vegetation, greenery or life. There are miles and miles of metal sheets leaning against stakes to provide shelter. Children run naked through the streets with no regard for their surroundings of debris and filth.
I had read about such places, but, like many Americans, I had not given them much thought. That changed this spring when I visited Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. In Haiti, I was given a chance to witness God through
the eyes of the poor.
Starvation is real in Haiti. Children with bloated stomachs and reddened hair are everywhere. Compounding the food shortage is the lack of clean water. Animals run wild relieving themselves in the very water the people of Haiti use for drinking, cooking and bathing.
My experience, while devastating and dramatic, was very positive because I saw a consistent message of love in the eyes of the people. Despite their circumstances I saw love, need and the grace of God in everyone I met. As difficult as it might be to believe in the face of devastation they have a loving way about them. Children run to hug you and cling to your legs, hoping you might be the one who helps them see a new way of life. What the children did not see is that they gave to me a renewed sense of value, peace and humility.
Thankfully, efforts are being made to help the people of Haiti. Through the generous parishioners from St. Philip, the Haitian Pilgrims – working with Food for the Poor—have provided water wells in a remote area of the country. A school and medical clinic have been built in the village of Boileau that gives the community a step toward an improved life. A doctor to visit regularly and daily hot lunches for the children are provided through the continued fund raising efforts of the Haitian Pilgrims.
I hope my personal commitment to the people of Haiti will be an inspiration to those I meet and move them to become involved in such a worthwhile cause. Through the eyes of the people of Haiti I have come to recognize and fully appreciate the blessings that my family and I share. These extraordinarily poor people have enriched my life and have taught me to not take our good fortune for granted. But more than that, they have helped me develop a stronger relationship with our Lord. For that, I am greatly indebted.
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:3