A Holiday Prayer for Haiti


This morning Sara’s office is closed for a second day in a row, as announced results in the Haitian presidential election, have thrown much of the country into chaos.

Yesterday hundreds of protesters rioted past out house in the Port-au-Prince suburb of Petion-ville, and shots rang out across the city.  Throughout the day we could hear explosions and smell tires burning.  The toxic fumes of burnt rubber and tear gas left me with a near blinding headache and induced an allergic reaction in Sara, her eyes watering, face swollen from irritants in the air.

Given the seemingly insurmountable series of obstacles the country has faced since the January 12th earthquake leveled most of Port-au-Prince—hurricane Tomas, cholera, and now election fraud—I’m reminded of the Haitian proverb, “dye mon, gen mon,” which roughly translates into English as “beyond the mountains, more mountains.” 

Here the expression images topographically the never-ending struggle of the Haitian people, outlining a belief shared by many, that conquering one challenge only brings the next one into focus—a belief mapped in the furrowed brows of many who fight the good fight one day, only to see the sun rise the following morning on the summit of the next.

As the mountains that circle Port-au-Prince are brightening today, those of us holed up in our houses are left with little to do but pray—

Pray for peace on these angry streets—

And in the mountains—the mountains beyond mountains—

May the hills be alive with a sound of peaceful music–

A peace that passes understanding–

May God bring peace to Haiti this holiday season!

17 thoughts on “A Holiday Prayer for Haiti

  1. Hi Kathy,

    Thanks for your posts. I read them every day. Just a reminder that though it must feel that way at times, you (and the Haitian people) are not alone. Many of us would like to help and are keeping you all in our thoughts and prayers every day while we struggle to think of concrete ways to assist.

    Working in this tough, desperate place is definitely contributing to what is good in our world and you two help to keep the darkness at bay.

    Tilly Grey

    Tilly

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    • It’s so good to hear from you, Tilly; it means a lot to me that you are reading! By the way, do you have an ideas for increasing my readership? The day my blog was featured by WordPress’ Freshly Pressed, I had close to 1,100 readers, but I’m not sure how to keep those readers. As a long-time journalist, do you have any strategies you could share?
      Hope you are well in Florida.
      Sara and I both send our love!
      Kathy

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  2. I have been following the reports on CNN and hearing words like “Tomorrow we will set the country on fire” makes my blood run cold. It brings back bad memories of the 1980s in South Africa. It is so scary how a situation can turn violent overnight.

    I hope that you and Sara stay safe, and are able to leave Haiti for the holidays.

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    • I hope we get to leave also. I’m scheduled to fly out in 6 days, but the airport has been closed now for 2 days. Hopefully it wil be able to reopen soon.
      Actually, it sounds like you may be getting more news that we are. We have no television and certainly can’t get out, so we are kind of stuck, seeing only what we can from ground level. Thanks for the support, Lisa!

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  3. Why do people feel the necessity to impose their will upon others through violence? Will we ever get beyond this? But, now that I actually think about it, there are many examples in the world of control by non-violence also. They just slap you with law after law after rule after licence after control prices, after, after. Maybe it all boils down to willful control by an elite few. Or maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about. That is another possibility.

    Hope it clears up soon Kathy.

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    • You are absolutely right, Marianne. People are lashing out because they have so few choices–are, as you say, controlled by an “elite few.” The elite few here in Haiti, about 100 families who possess at least 95 percent of the country’s assets, are also the political elite, whose wealth and power largely depend on keeping the rest of the population impoverished. I think you have a lot of insight!

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  4. In this context, I totally understand the expression, “mountains beyond mountains”, as you shared it with me. What more can Haiti withstand? My heart aches for you and Sara and all the people of Haiti and I will certainly pray for peace in that land. It grieves my African heart because it all sounds so familiar.
    Sunshine xx

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  5. Ms. Kathryn, I am now reading your blog everyday. I keep in touch with world affairs everyday and what your blog has provided me is something that is on a first – person point of view. The events in Haiti right now are something that you cannot control. I also know that you cannot leave the country. I just hope that these unforunate events will end soon.

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    • Thanks so much for continuing to read–and being willing to comment. It’s great to talk with you.

      Yes, the situation is one I can’t control, but it helps to share what’s happening with readers like you. I look forward to hearing from you again!

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    • Good question. However, my next post should answer that question. Actually, theres no talk that I’m aware of, but all airports in the country have been closed for several days and will not reopen again tomorrow–no one can get to the airport becausse of rioting in the streets, burning tires, and barricades built by protesters from remaining earthquake debris. I only hope I can get out on Wednesday, when my flight is currently scheduled.

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  6. Pingback: If only I (k)NEW(s)! | reinventing the event horizon

  7. Have you read the book by the same name as the proverb (Mountains Beyond Mountains), about Paul Farmer & PIH? I read that years before going to Haiti but now it’s on my list again. Your experiences there are so interesting, right after the quake. I also recently read Isabella Allende’s Island Beneath the Sea which is a fantastic historical novel with great insight into the plantation history. I’ll check out more of your posts now–

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    • Mountains Beyond Mountains is one of my favorite books! Farmer is an amazing man. To think he started Partners in Health while attending medical school at Harvard. I’ve not read Allende’s book, however. I will check out your blog here in a bit. I’m truly fascinated to learn more about what you are doing there! Great to hear from you!

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