Are You Overwhelmed Yet?

Our group left the MPP compound this morning, said our good-byes and headed back to Port au Prince.  As we compare notes on all the meetings of yesterday, it's pretty clear that all the leaders at MPP and the Ecovillages are on the same page.  We've seen much progress and discussed plans for ways that the children can get fed and the teachers to get paid.  At the same time, it's apparent it's going to take a while to get there.  Where's all the money going to come from to build more classrooms and fund operations until the school is self-sufficient?  It's too overwhelming to think about that and so I revert to thinking about one step at a time.

Along the road back to the city, there is an endless stream of humanity.  A few people travel in cars, some on motorcycle and the majority are walking.  They walk to get to market carrying what they can to sell.  Or perhaps they're returning from market with a few items they've purchased. There is dust everywhere kicked up from the dirty roads.  Congestion on the road is so bad a times that it's a miracle that more people are not run over.  At the same time, we observe that they are well groomed and wearing shoes.  We don't see any evidence of starvation.  It's a tough life and it's hard to see how it could ever improve.  It's overwhelming.

After our return to Port au Prince, we go out for a "fast food" lunch.  I had brown rice, chicken, vegetables, bottled water and a beer.  It cost $6 and the food was tasty.  We had planned to be tourists for the day but learned that there were demonstrations on the route to the place we wished to visit.  The gatherings are in response to the recent elections and we have been warned to stay clear in case things get out of hand.

Instead of touring, we gladly go to the home of Cindy Corell who is our mission co-worker in Haiti.  The house is lovely and comfortable.  This little oasis is a welcome break from the chaos of the streets on the other side of the wall that surrounds the house.  I can't help but think of all those people we passed on the road that will not get a break from the difficulties of their daily existence. 

Somehow though, I don't feel depressed or discouraged.  I think about all the wonderful people I've met these past few days.  The people of the village, the people at MPP and our PCUSA friends that live and work in this country.  Memories of the smiling children at the school make me smile.  The friendliness of our interpreter Marc and our driver Bernado is in stark contrast with our perception of the hardship of this life.  The people here are respectful, grateful and hopeful.  When I think about that, it can be rather overwhelming.

submitted by C. Calia