~ Stupid doesn’t kill you, but it makes you sweat.
There are literally thousands of Haitian proverbs reflecting their unique cultural experience. Remember, most everyone living there today is descended from a slave who won “freedom” in the revolt of 1804. The eviction of the French left virtually no infrastructure in place and very little immigration has occurred. So, rather than the sudden calamity many countries are experiencing, rural Haitians have always lived in poverty — they have evolved with it. Their spirit , dignity and humor seem to lift them above expressing the misery that most of us would feel were we in their place.
“Si te`t ou pa travay, pye ou va travay” (If your head doesn’t work, your feet will work) expresses the great value Haitians place on education — a rare and precious commodity among the impoverished. The recent cholera epidemic was least evident among the most educated. Your orphanage/school, representing over 700 children and families had no serious cases. They knew how to read instructions and understand the health care providers.
Great projects, just like ideas, can be contagious. Seeing what the community of Grison-Garde had accomplished at your orphanage/school prompted another American group to create a free school for over 200 children just a half–mile away. That project is alive and well — a concrete block school offers classes and a daily meal to the kids. We know of 3 other ongoing projects spawned by the efforts of the people of Grison-Garde and your support.
Amazing fact: dozens of our school kids leave home at dawn walking several hours to school and repeat that trip in the heat of the day. They smile and wave as they pass — astounding. Obesity is not an issue in rural Haiti (visiting Americans being the exception!).
(Originally published 3/2011)