Haiti: Would You Like to Know Why I Went?


Now that I've been back for a couple of days I thought I would share my heart with you. Perhaps you would like to know why I went. It has occurred to me since my return from Haiti just over a week ago that there are two ways to look at major disasters. One can look at it from the perspective of Google Earth (the satellite view) or from the perspective of Facebook (relationships and networks with people).

Whether it is Haiti, Katrina or any other major disaster, some people just look at it from the perspective of Google Earth. When we look at disasters from that perspective, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and useless. After all, from a satellite view, Haiti really hasn’t changed since the earthquake. Oh yeah, there are a lot more VSGs (Visible Spontaneous Gatherings) which is WHO-speak for tent cities. But the destruction is still there. It just looks like piles of rocks. This view, although it may be helpful for planning, has never been very inspiring to me personally. This type of a view makes me just want to stay home. After all, who am I to think that I can change anything of this magnitude. Nope, it’s not possible to even make a dent. Besides I really like my shower and I'll never cease to appreciate that it is hot and the water is so clean I can even drink it.

The Facebook view, on the other hand, is a different thing altogether. If you want to "find" yourself, give yourself away. “Connecting” brings meaning to our lives; life is about relationships, it's about purpose. It is the belief that I can make a difference in the lives of a few and that difference will multiply beyond my wildest dreams. I believe that this difference will have a lasting impact on their friends and families in this generation and maybe even in the generations to come. (I'm not talking about "the doctor thing" by the way. I'm talking about bringing hope and love. And anyone can do that.) Now, that gets me off my couch and out of my comfort zone. A hot shower is nothing compared to making an impact. When I touch the life of one person, I touch a family and their network of friends. You can’t see that from a space but you can see it in the smile of another person. Despite my inability to speak their language, I can still connect with people using a deeper language -- a language where hearts are brought together and lives are touched.

I can bring some healing. I can bring hope. And, most importantly, I can bring love. One person at a time.

So can you.

I would love to hear your stories as well. Please ponder these two questions:

  1. How was your life changed by someone that reached out and cared about you, your family or your friend?

  2. Have you left your comfort zone to reach out? If so, what happened to the people you were reaching out to? What happened to you?