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7606: Re: 7576: I must have missed something (fwd)

From: haiti@ixks.com
>From: Gray <gray@powerwiz.demon.co.uk>
>Its a fine line isn,t it   when do you step in and when to hold back

I saw a young friend of ours in Haiti last week.  He met some visiting
Americans at an orphanage when he was very young and they struck up a
relationship with him and his family.  Since then, many Americans have sent
money to pay rent, school, food, etc for him and his mother.  Funny thing is
that each year he shows less ambition.  This time, he was dressed in new
clothes from head to foot.  His American sponsor had brought them for him,
along with a new walkman to listen to his music. When I showed up at the
orphanage, he was sitting on the veranda in a rattan chair, listening to his
walkman.  I talked with him for a bit and then went to see the kids, visit
with old friends and have lunch. A few hours later, when I was getting ready
to go, he was still sitting in the same chair with his headphones on.  When
he saw me he called me over to his chair and I said, no -- you can come over
here if you want to talk to me.  At first he wouldn't till he saw I wasn't
kidding, then he reluctantly got up and came over where I was.  He asked me
for some money, which he always does, and I asked him what work he was going
to do for me.  He laughed and tried to convince me to give him the money. I
said no.  After I said all my goodbyes he tried once more to get a handout.
He was pretty shocked when he realized I wasn't kidding and I told him that
I had too much respect for him to give him charity money when he was
obviously young and strong and intelligent enough to do for himself.

I remember meeting two young Haitian girls, age about 8 and 11.  They were
sisters and their mother is a friend of mine.  She brought them to meet me
and they came to give me the traditional kiss on the cheek greeting.  Before
they came close, the older girl whispered to her younger sister, "Pa bese
tet ou devan blan, non."  and she held herself really tall and proud when
she came over and kissed me.  The little sister followed suit.

I kind of wished that little girl had of been there when the designer-
clothed teenager was asking me for money.  Maybe she could have made him
understand what I could not.

It IS a fine line...  and I've fallen off it on both sides many times. In
the end I just try to do my best and hope it matters.


C. Henrius