Haiti #6: A Nation of Orphans

Posted: July 5, 2010 in Haiti Missions, Journeys, YOLO
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What Haitian culture has wrought

Reflecting on her trip, one of my fellow missionary travelers referred to Haiti as a “nation of orphans”, because they largely do not have a tradition that passes God-given wisdom down to new generations. Haiti has been a basketcase for as long as anyone can remember, as they have not practiced and passed down traditions of diligence, independence, caring for one’s possessions, etc.

After spending time there, reading about Haiti, and speaking to many Haitians, I am convinced that nothing will improve without a change in culture. Many billions of dollars in financial aid have been poured into Haiti from all over the world, and things are worse than ever. The earthquake caused countless deaths, massive physical damage and great homelessness, all on top of the problems they already had. But as one veteran aid work put it, “instead of chaos, filth, disease, garbage, and despair, they now have more dilapidated buildings to go along with the chaos, filth, disease, garbage and despair”.

The Judeo-Christian tenets of hard work, individual effort, cleanliness and hygiene, order, organization, wisdom handed down to subsequent generations, avoidance of evil, and self-preservation have led to cultures seen by most as “successful”. America’s founding fathers embraced these God-given directives and we have benefited for hundreds of years as the American way of life has led to financial and political stability and prosperity.

Many books of the Bible, most notably Proverbs, left sage advice to future generations: Jews and Christians have benefited from this, as have all who lived under these principals. Our traditions of liberty and independence, freedom of speech, individual accountability and private property ownership have developed over the years from biblical teachings. It is no wonder that this God-inspired teaching have resulted in tremendous prosperity to whatever nations embraced it. America does not have a sole claim on this teaching, but has certainly made the most of it in the last couple hundred years.

Haiti on the other hand has embraced a survivalist mentality: nothing ever gets built properly and people do not take care for their future as they are always living in crisis. The United States and other prosperous nations that keep Haiti afloat and from complete anarchy should insist that some of the God-given wisdom in our culture should be utilized in using the funds provided. Their culture is dysfunctional, and has ruined their side of the island and the lives of its citizens long enough. Their way of life can only lead to more poverty, suffering and death.

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