Home » International

Five Things I Have Learned From Haiti

19 January 2010 5 Comments

1. Some People Do Incredible Things To Help Others

The stories of volunteers that have gone to aid the people in Haiti after this awful tragedy are very inspiring.  There are so many medical personnel, volunteers, missionaries, etc. that have descended upon this tiny country to lend a hand.

Furthermore, the giving from people especially people in America has been really awesome.

2. Some People Will Do Unimaginably Awful Things To Survive

On the flip side of the coin, we have seen what human beings are capable of when faced with survival.  People will do awful, violent things when faced with death.  There have been gangs armed with machetes taking whatever and killing anyone who gets in their way.

3. Emergency Preparedness Is Important

While Haiti is indeed an extremely poor country, and most people don’t have enough for non-emergencies, the sheer chaos and disorder that has been created in Haiti does remind you how important it is to prepare for emergencies.  I live in Florida, and have been hit by hurricanes.  Depending on where you live, it might be wise to prepare for various natural disasters.  Obviously, terrorism is a constant threat these days as well.

The biggest thing to remember I think is that these images of chaos in Haiti are not confined to third world countries.  Remember the images of New Orleans after Katrina?  Looting, violence, chaos are all possible in America if certain events occur.

Preparations for such things might include security (firearms), power (generator), food & water supplies, first aid, etc.  Check out FEMA for more information on this topic.

4. American Can Never Win The PR Game

While not surprising, America has delivered above and beyond on the aid front with this tragedy.  The American government has donated $100 million I believe and the American people have donated millions more on their own.  Furthermore, we’ve sent over 12,000 troops to help distribute aid and help people.  Other countries like China & France have given a fraction of what America has given.

With that sad, we will still have a tarnished image abroad.  At some point, Americans need to realize that you will never win everyone over.

5. People Must Help Themselves To Prosper

While this tragedy has brought Haiti back to the forefront of our minds, not too long ago Haiti was a major story.  If you recall, President Clinton decided to make Haiti a large priority of his administration.  Through increased efforts and increased aid (in dollars), he wanted to make a lasting impact.  He did admirable things, but as you can tell now, there was no lasting impact.  Does this mean Clinton failed?  No.  It means Haiti must eventually help itself.

The U.S. has given Haiti in the billions of dollars over the years.  Remember, Haiti is a small country with less than 10 million people.  In a well run country, this kind of aid would have a large impact.  Unfortunately, corruption is rampant and I’m not sure the people themselves know how to fight for something better.

Does this mean we should not help or not provide aid?  No, it doesn’t.   I believe we should help.  But, it shows that aid alone does not bring about change.  Something bigger is needed.