If I allow myself to, I see Haiti with “fresh eyes” each time I return to this wonderful country. Although I’ve never had the privilege of visiting Africa, everywhere I looked today I knew I was seeing Afrik (Africa in Creole). Images flash before me as I write this – the ubiquitous motorcycles, some carrying up to 5 people, filling the air with sounds of fury and exhaust; large 18-wheelers parked along the road, with shirtless and sweating men unloading bags of cement; the smell of food from street vendors; people silently peddling bicycles carrying Coleman-type coolers and bundles of any and everything, including melting block ice!
There are the day laborers struggling behind wheelbarrows overflowing with loads of every kind; people driving top heavy, dangerously overloaded motorcycles with attached trailers, careening from one side of the road to the other, dodging people, potholes and large concrete speed bumps.
And literally everywhere there are people filling the streets – walking along selling everything from food to sunglasses to phone cords, cards and accessories; school children of all ages dressed in neatly pressed uniforms reflecting the colors of their schools; the poorest of the poor children walking along dressed in rags, too destitute to afford school; men, young and old, walking to-and-from work with a hoe, machete or hatchet in their hands; and, women carrying large containers of water on their heads.
It’s literally a different world, and one that many in America would find shocking because they’ve never seen poverty beyond the confines of America. The idea of children or people going hungry in America rings hollow when seen on the world’s stage. Here in Haiti, there are mothers who mix dirt with their children’s food so that the tiny stomachs feel fuller. Many Haitians subsist on 600 calories a day, and Haiti has one of the lowest protein intakes on earth. Hunger in America is poor nutrition and junkfood. Hunger in Haiti is raw and brutal “starving to death” hunger.
But I digress. I am just now driving past three donkeys – roped together, led by a Haitian mother, with her little girl sitting on the third beast of burden. And, all along the road the donkeys have left a trail of deposits! Thus, you have the title of this blog. Mercy me! Right now I’m envisioning “donkey police” racing up to hand out tickets for people not “curbing” their donkeys, picking up the waste and carefully putting their donkey bags in the nearest containers!
Blessings from Aslan!