From Rubble, A Bit of Normalcy Returns to Haiti
A nice bit of morning inspiration from the New York Times op-ed pages. Despite disaster, a little bit of day-to-day normalcy can be found in Haiti. Below is an excerpt
AT 8 o'clock on Easter morning, the preacher at the Reformed Baptist church near my house was back to exhorting the young people not to have sex before marriage. He no longer brandishes the earthquake as proof that some malevolent God is angry with Haiti for its sins.
On Monday morning, school was supposed to have started again. But it was a very timid reopening. After all, most schools are still covered with debris. And most parents are afraid to let their children go inside.
Three months after the earthquake, some of the customary cadence of life has returned. People still argue and laugh, they still fight and kiss under the trees. Babies still cry in the middle of the night. But the neighborhood has changed. We fervently wish that the precarious tents and other reminders of the catastrophe would disappear, yet we remain aware that to go forward we must rebuild with that infamous Tuesday in mind.
Since Jan. 12, I have had the opportunity to go to the seashore. Standing barefoot on the sand, I let the gentle waves remind me of life's magnificence, trying not to visualize the destroyed places and lives behind me. I hold on to the sheer majesty of the sea. I hold on to my hopes.
Sometimes, it is not easy.
The international donors' conference for Haiti has just ended; the sponsors have pledged billions of dollars. But some basic facts remind us to be cautious. Not all pledges will materialize into donations, some of the money will be paid to the firms and personnel in the donor countries, and the money that does make it here may not reach the people who need it. We stand at the beginning of a very long road.
We are already looking ahead. A principal whose private school has collapsed is working two days a week with some youngsters from the neighborhood, and I sometimes hear their little voices chatting and repeating children's songs in Creole.