By Nadene Brunk, Executive Director.
My heart cries looking at this picture taken on a recent visit by Cheryl Hanna-Truscott. I cry both from the simple joy on this girl’s face as she sang a welcome to the “blans” visiting her school and from seeing that most of these children have that orange tinge to their hair that indicates long-term malnutrition and lack of protein (Kwashiorkor). I also fear for this girl’s future – as many girls do not stay in school or have to move to the city to get further education.
Recently, on a Sunday morning at the church I attend in Haiti, the young women’s choir was singing a song that included the chorus, “Thoughts on above, feet on the ground.” I thought about the girls who were singing in much the same way I thought about this girl. What lies ahead for them? When they hope for the future what do they have to hope for?
I wondered, as the Haitians sang, if they do not have a better understanding of “feet on the ground” than we Americans do. We manage to escape from the more difficult things of life like hunger, lack of clean water, washing clothing in the river, bucket baths, dirt floors, and no educational opportunities or hope for better times ahead. Instead, we comfort ourselves with our food, our drink, our clean and lovely floors, our modern kitchens, our heated and cooled cars, workplaces and homes. We live in constant denial of our own death, the death of our loved ones, and the misery that most of the rest of the world deals with daily. We watch TV and read Facebook and constantly escape in computer-land so we can forget that life is fragile and precious.
My work in Haiti is as necessary to my spiritual being as it is to the Haitians our program serves. It keeps my feet on the ground and better prepares me for facing the hard things in life. The fact that I was born in the U.S. instead of in Haiti is an undeserved gift. Those of us who can easily keep our thoughts on above because we are so physically comfortable owe it to the majority of the rest of the world to walk with them as they have their “feet on the ground” in a way we do not begin to comprehend.
This girl’s feet will see much hardship. I hope someone’s feet will walk with her and give her hope.