Ke Kontan

Ke Kontan

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

What is "Normal"?

I find that the longer I am here in Haiti, the harder it is to write about it, not because things get less interesting or that I have become bored of writing…it’s just harder to pick out only one story to write about…or my stories are so harsh and real that my brain honestly doesn't want to have to process them twice.

Life here has become my normal.  However, to the average person, describing this life as  “normal” would be an atrocity.

It’s not normal to watch children play in and drink from the sewage water.

It’s not normal to have people knock on your gate to tell you they are starving and haven’t eaten for days.

It’s not normal to visit a mother of eight that’s living in a tent and unable to feed her children because she is too ill to work and has no one to help her, no government to give her unemployment or disability...she is alone.

It’s not normal to have a 15-year-old show up at your house with a bag in tow explaining how he escaped from a home where he was being beaten, working as a slave, and not receiving an education because his mother died in a car accident and his father left at birth.

It's not normal for my kids to miss multiple days of school due to violent protests in the streets.

It’s not normal to have to have to explain to a parent that forcing your child to drink bleach because she stole 10 goudes could be the last thing she ever tells her child to do.  

It’s not normal to have a woman show up at your gate with a newborn baby in her arms and wish to leave her child with you, and when you refuse to take the child from her and instead offer to help her financially, she kills her baby and you have the entire community telling you how she fed her baby girl to the pigs.

It’s not normal to watch human beings suffer and die from preventable things on a daily basis.

And it is most definitely not normal to sit around and simply watch these things happen around you... but too often that seems to be the case.

In North American society these things would be considered the opposite of normal.  They would be considered inhumane and cruel.  But here’s the reality.  All of these things I wrote above are "normal" here in Haiti and in many other places around the world.  Each day there are more and more stories that shake me to my core.  More and more things that I witness that make it hard to get out of bed each day and to remain having faith in humanity.

My idea of normal is constantly changing. But I know that I am blessed to be here.  I am blessed to be able to teach my children that these things are not okay, that these things should not be normal, and that they have the power to make a difference in their country and the lives of their people.