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7439: Re: Usefulness of spring break trips to Haiti (fwd)

From: Barbara Page <pageclan@email.msn.com>

Response to Shirley Jean

I am also interested in responses to the posts by Shirley Jean.  Our church
is sending down a team of eleven adults to our 'sister' church in O'kap
April 13-23.  We are going for the purpose of building a second story onto
the church building so that a new school can begin to operate by next fall.
The four women on the trip (including myself) are offering English classes
in the evenings to those older students that attend the Evangelical Free
Church in Cap-Haitien and for other interested students that live in the
city.  This is the spring break season for students in the area.

During our training here in the states, I have come to the conclusion that I
will be the learner and my hosts will be the teachers!  I have no
misconceptions about visiting and somehow 'showing them' anything!  I expect
to be humbled by the perseverance and persistence of my brothers and sisters
in the Lord, who, under circumstances that I probably can't even imagine,
are willing to teach me a thing or two.

We don't expect to foster dependency, but to solidify our relationships with
each other in our mutual worship of the same Lord and Savior.  We will be
honored to celebrate Easter with our hosts as equals.

Barbara Page
The First Evangelical Free Church of McKeesport, PA

----- Original Message -----
From: "Bob Corbett" <corbetre@webster.edu>
To: "Haiti mailing list" <haiti@lists.webster.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, March 21, 2001 3:23 PM
Subject: 7432: Usefulness of spring break trips to Haiti (fwd)

> From: Shirley Jean <shirle_jean@hotmail.com>
> I wanted to get the opinion of the list about an issue that sparked a
> discussion.
> Come Saturday, three separate groups of students from Harvard University
> (from the law school, church group, and the Kennedy School) are going to
> Haiti for spring break. All of the trips consist of going to orphanages
> hospitals to give toys, schools supplies, and used clothing.
> While I recognize that these are essential needs and will benefit the
> children and people that receive the donations, I can't help but question
> the whole idea of groups of students going on spring break or missionaries
> going to Haiti to help all "those Haitians" in need. In the pit of my
> stomach, I sense overtones of white man's burden type rationale. Are they
> seeing a fellow human being or just some poor, helpless Haitians? Is it
> right that people go because they get to see for a week the poverty in the
> "poorest country in the Americas" when they are bringing supplies for an
> orphanage in the process? I also question the dependency that is fostered
> all of these "charitable donations". But then again, are they serving a
> pragmatic function and all I am doing is looking for something negative in
> my  Haitian-always-have-to-find-something-to-complain-about self. What do
> others think?