A Cry for Help
Yesterday I saw a video I regretted, but I think I needed to see it. I also believe people around the world should see it as well, especially Haitians who are living outside of Haiti. For the past 15 months, the debate in Haiti and outside of Haiti has been about whether they want foreign countries to come to help them with the gangs. This topic divides many Haitian households. I can understand both sides of the argument. Some of them do not want countries like the U.S., Canada, and France to come to their aid. The reason is obvious; these countries in the past acted like they were helping Haiti but ended up hurting them. For example, most Haitian believe that the U.S. always intervenes during elections. Being in Haiti during the riot in March 2022 made clear to me how much some Haitian hate it when the U.S. gets involved. This was when they broke into the airport we were flying from and burned down the plane. My team and I got tear gas!
While escaping the chaos with a group of people who were part of the riot, they were telling us how much they hated what was going on, and they were talking about U.S. involvement. I had to be careful with my words because I did not want to say anything that would upset them. I also did not want them to know my team had three Americans and a Canadian. I shared my story of being raised in poverty, going into an orphanage for five years, getting adopted, and then moving to the United States. I told them that God had blessed me and got me out of poverty and now called me to come and help. I demonstrated what we do in Haiti, and they were amazed. They said that Mercy was doing a great job in Haiti and wished more organizations would do things as we do. I was calm and felt safe! The relationship with France had always been shaky since the Haitian army defeated them to gain independence in 1804. After defeating the French, Haiti had to pay them between 112-115 million francs for about 70 years. Imagine the U.S. paying the British after beating them. As for Canada, I don’t know what they have done, but they are always in the mix of nations Haiti does not want their help. The opposite side of this argument is the people who think that Haiti needs foreign help. I completely understand the people who do not want help. My issue with that is, for how long? I am on board with the side that believes Haiti needs foreign help.
Let me be clear; I do not want an invasion! I want help to stop the gangs. The video I saw yesterday had people running from bullets. All I could see were people with all their belongings they could get their hands on and a backpack. I could hear them cry and some screaming “Anmwey,” which means in that context, to convey pain or expression of pain they can’t fully express. What broke my heart in the video was seeing a mother carrying her two little boys, one in each hand. One of her arms got tired, so she sat one down and picked him back up after hearing another gunshot. She was a tiny lady, but her strength to carry those boys amazed me. I hate that I am writing this because I have to fight the tears, but I must write this. If I don’t, I will explode and scream in my car. My wife asked me what was wrong yesterday, but I did not have the strength to tell her. I never want to imagine her going through that much pain and suffering. Unfortunately, this is the level of pain these people are experiencing in Haiti.
During my trip to Haiti last November, I met many people in the southern region who moved back because of gangs.
They told us the gangs came and took their homes and everything they had.
They even burn down some houses for no reason, just because they could. I don’t see how Haitians living in the U.S. can say Haiti does not need help. Especially the ones who have not been to Haiti for the past 20 years or even the past 10 years. How can Haiti figure it out? How many need to die before enough is enough? Truth be told, I go to bed sometime thinking I will get a phone call soon telling me that my mom or one of my sisters has been shot. It is scary to think that, but I don’t have a choice because it can happen. I try my best not to be fearful, but it gets the best of me sometimes. I hate that I can’t do anything to stop the gangs. I hate that I can’t take the pain and suffering away from these people. I hate seeing my nation always in turmoil. God is the only one that gives me hope when thinking of Haiti. I am trying to convince myself that something will change soon, but it is not happening. Like they say in Haiti, “Jezi, di yon mo pou nou”. Jesus, say a word for us.