Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Dirt Pile

On my first trip to Haiti, our team worked alongside of Haitians from the village, hired as day laborers on the construction project we were involved in, building four houses for people like the Momma of the orphanage.

An entire team of workers spent two days with buckets and shovels moving dirt a distance of about 10 yards. Inefficient? Yes. Could we "help" them do better? Absolutely. Should we? Absolutely not.

See, the operative phrase here is "hired as day laborers." Sure, we could figure out a way to get a Caterpillar over there and move that pile in 10 minutes with a couple of scoops, but then, where would that team get the money to feed their families that week? Such an act would wreak havoc on the economy.

The book, When Helping Hurts is a powerful read for anyone trying to "help" anyone else, anywhere out of poverty. It should be on the shelf of any well meaning person attempting to assist another human being.

So let the Haitians dig--smile at them, say bonjour (or bonsoir if it is even one minute past noon, I mean it!) and let it go.

Friends and Readers: I am in Haiti this week, but have left you with a series of short posts highlighting aspects of Haitian culture to encourage thought, discussion, and understanding. The next one posts tomorrow. Thanks for reading! See you next week!

1 comment:

Joanne Tanner said...

You asserted time was very important to the Haitians as the greeting changes even a minute past noon. I have heard it's the same in some of the countries in Europe, but focused on things like tea or lunch of siesta. I would say that in the US, things revolve around work and TV shows, sadly. One of the things I love about being on vacation or traveling is that you can choose anything you want to guide your time and energy. Hope you're having a great time! Missing you.


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