Okay, despite moaning and groaning earlier this week about not having water, despite complaining to my mother about being without electricity for much of every day, despite the fact that it’s often unsafe and the infrastructure sucks, please understand I’m not exactly suffering here in this beautifully warm and mostly sunny part of the world.
I feel particularly compelled to set the record straight, since I’ve not shared much in this blog to date about the benefits I’m afforded as an expat living in Haiti. Clearly the media in the US doesn’t tell this side of the story, mostly because the biggest story to tell about Haiti, in fact perhaps, the truest story to tell about Haiti involves the unimaginable pain people suffer on this tiny island. But clearly that’s not the experience of the Haitian elite, largely not the experience of UN peacekeepers, diplomats, humanitarian aid workers or missionaries living here. Some of us are getting along quite comfortably in Haiti, quite comfortably indeed.
Partly, I feel compelled to share this now since friends and family tend to commend me for what I’m doing, and, frankly, I feel guilty. The fact of the matter is I deserve no special recognition for doing anything all that sacrificial. It’s important to remember I not only chose to be here, I want to be here. It’s not like I’ve been dragged to this climatically semi-perfect part of the planet kicking and screaming. It’s a Caribbean island, and folks like to vacation in the Caribbean for a reason. It’s paradise.
Yes, we had a hurricane last week, and hurricanes can kill. But they kill in the US, as well. God knows Katrina killed in New Orleans and all along the Gulf Coast. It’s true we have a rainy season and days with way more water than any land-loving creature would know what to do with, but even during those damp months in summer and early fall, we wake up to sunny skies almost every morning. And you don’t have to be diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder to know that sunshine tends to make people happy. We’re kind of weird that way as a species.
But I should try to wrap this up, since the housekeeper will be here soon. She’ll sweep and mop the floors, do dishes, drop off clean laundry for the weekend.
I gotta go to the beach on Sunday and out to a lovely dinner tonight.
Somebody has to suffer. Might as well be me.