Monday, February 1, 2010

Hayti Cherie: Haiti The Week Before Disaster


As the effort to assuage the disaster and devastation that has hit Haiti continues, we would like to bring you a piece written by a Haitian-American friend of ours (who has asked to remain anonymous) who was in Haiti the days leading up to the tragic earthquake and flew out of the country that morning.  Her viewpoint on the situation is certainly unique and we are proud to bring you her words and some pictures she took of Haiti immediately before the quake hit as a celebration of a country and culture that deserves much, much better.


Only History tells the story well.

Behind my camera lens, I see an illuminative and collective rendition of history in culture. It’s a motion picture of sorts, in which life is mimicry of art and vice versa. How priceless? How beautiful? It puzzles me. Can someone pinch me? As I click away, I see above and past the dilapidation, poverty, destitution, and penury. What I see is true, perfect, and whole.  As I walk around the city, I feel the gentle breeze whisper sweet lullabies in my ear and when I close my eyes, the warm embrace of the Coco Puff Mountains wrap around me. I am safe for I am experiencing a glimpse of paradise.  It’s a secret heaven on earth that one experiences, if one lets go of worldly influences and listens to the heartbeat of a nation. It is in the air. It is in the food. It is in my blood. It is all around me- guiding me to a higher truth and understanding.

The cries of my ancestors are heard in the thunderstorm at night. Liberte- Egalite- Fraternite! It has been over 500 years since Christopher Columbus discovered Hispanola. At that time, the Arawak and Taino Indians protected and cared for the land. They named the land, Hayti, mountainous land. They were not only the true inhabitants of the lowest valley, but also, the masters of the highest mountain peak (8,793 feet).   Moreover, they were mindful of the environment and its natural resources. Gold, vegetation, sugar! What a jackpot.  But how come this prosperity is not inexistence today? What happened?


The 7.0 Earthquake raises the skeletons and unmasks the rebellious truth.  For the first time, we clearly see the Universal equilibrium of life and death; a journey to the past reflects an essential step inward and a monumental move forward.  At the inner core of the Haitian people is liberty and justice for all.  The glorious revolution of 1804 is seen in the eyes of the grandmother and carried on the backs of the men. The women uphold the cultural diet, sharing recipes while planning dinner at the crack of dawn. The hustle and bustle of the streets begins right after breaking bread and savoring a warm cup of coffee. So, one might ask, what keeps them from seeing their own beauty and enjoying their own freedom?  If beauty is in the eyes of the peacemaker, maybe the peacemaker has a misconception of the standard of beauty.  So I ask, what is beauty? What is freedom? Who is beautiful? Who is free?  Who is not?


We were all created in a delightful image and what makes us beautiful is what’s on the inside. Regardless of external circumstance, the pulse of a being is what keeps them alive. If we remember correctly, the heart is at the center of our being. The heart is capable of many wonderful things provided it is open to the light of mankind. We are all a reflection of progress, whether it is civilized or uncivilized. We are Human Beings. A cooperative process is essential to the preservation of mankind. With cooperation comes peace, balance, and basic human rights. I love you Hayti. Always remember to thine own people be true. All else will follow.

Please help Haiti by donating to the relief efforts. Below are three reputable national organizations who can ensure that your donation is having the maximum effect and one local church who is sending assistance to Haiti:

-The Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund
-The Red Cross
-Shrine of The Sacred Heart
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