A week or so ago, I had a guest tell me that she was staying here at the House during the 2010 earthquake. For a little earthquake info about the House, here’s a quick rundown: the rooms on the rooftop were destroyed and rebuilt, but that was pretty much it other than a few cracks in the walls that we fixed/rebuilt as needed. The soccer pitch next door and the back lot were turned into tent cities and the House turned into a triage center (with one of our dining tables being used for amputations, including the foot of one of the girls who works here). Anyways, so this guest was here for that and she remembers standing on the rooftop, looking out over the soccer pitch and thinking how guilty she felt. Here she was with WiFi to tell her loved ones she was okay and meals and plenty of drinkable water, but these people had nothing–no home, no food, and for many, they had physical pain and the pain of having lost loved ones in collapses and such. Like wow. I feel guilty on a daily basis, but I can’t even imagine that contrast between the House and the people who had nothing left.
Here I am, living in this third world country (the poorest in the western hemisphere, actually) and I have WiFi, fans, electricity 24/7, three warm meals a day (and not just rice and beans, but like entire meals with side dishes and multiple options), cold filtered water, flush toilets, water that I don’t have to go to a well for, washing machines, locked gates, and at least one security guard at all times. I think about it on a daily basis. I wanted (and still want) to live like the Haitians do, not be living like an American in Haiti, if that makes sense. I feel like I’ve been given too much and this isn’t what I signed up for. Now don’t get me wrong–having these things is wonderful and convenient. But that’s just it, I think. I don’t really want convenient. I want to be fully immersed in the culture, and a part of that, to me, is going through the motions of the average Haitian. I want more.
Is that normal?