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7448: RE: 7432: Usefulness of spring break trips to Haiti (fwd)

From: "Steber, Maggie" <MSteber@herald.com>
> From: Shirley Jean <shirle_jean@hotmail.com>
> 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
> and 
> hospitals to give toys, schools supplies, and used clothing.
>From Maggie Steber:  this is the kind of issue that i also always feel
divided about. although i am not haitian, i have worked there for so many
many years as a photographer and been involved with so many lives, that i
feel completely connected to Haiti and to Haitians, who I think are the most
courageous and greatest people (ti pays, grand peuple) in the world.  when i
see groups going down to "do good" i kinda resent it too. the real good
would be done by Americans paying more attention to the actions of their
government in places like Haiti. on the other hand, if some upper middle
class white kids, or African-American kids, from Harvard go to Haiti to "do
good" it also exposes them to a reality which may be unfamiliar to them.
Haiti has the power to change lives and influence the way one thinks. if
being exposed to the situation in Haiti can do that to any one of these
people so that, if nothing else, they become more sensitized to the reality
of the most of the world, that can't be bad. but should that responsibility
of "sensitizing" people fall to Haiti?  My theory about Haiti is that Haiti
chooses you. You don't choose it. If Haiti doesn't like you, she will do
everything to expel you. If she likes you or thinks she can teach you
something, by god, she'll wrap her arms around you and squeeze your guts
out. we poor non-Haitians can really only ever have our noses pressed up
against the glass looking in because we can never know what it is to be
Haitian. But we can love and serve Haiti in many different ways. If some "do
gooders" wanna join in--and Haiti chooses them--than it's her business.
There are some foreigners who actually do some incredible good there. white
man's burden? Haiti calls all the shots, as far as I am concerned. people
may go there thinking that they are going to do something for these "poor"
people but it is actually they who are changed. that's real power, that's
the power of Haiti. Haitians recognize this but foreigners are blind to it.
I can see all the lwa laughing now. 

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