As a little boy, I used to wonder of all the countries in the world why was I born in Haiti. I grew up with a cousin who is about the same age as I am, and each time we would look in the sky and see an airplane, we would scream for the plane to come get us, and at some point, we believed that people on the plane could actually hear us. It is likely that we were not the only Haitian children questioning the fate of our birth.
The sad part is that we were not among the poorest in the country. At the time, we could have been considered fortunate for we had clothes on our back, food to eat, access to school, and a shelter over our head, like children anywhere in the world, we had no worries about daily lives—yet, we could not be satisfied with the lives we were living.
How can it be that young children with no perception of what the real world is all about could be so hopeless and pessimist about their country? If as a little boy I had reservation of being Haitian when things were not as bad as they are today, I do not want to imagine what little boys might be thinking of their country now. It would not surprise me at all, if many more young boys are asking themselves why they were born in Haiti. To many of them, Haiti is hell, even though it is the only place they have ever lived.
Looking at Haiti from the outside is hard to not feel pity for the people. Reading about Haiti on popular websites can only lead one to think that those people are just being stationary, and always waiting for others to rescue them. Hearing of Haiti from international missionaries could exalt the message of hope and at the same time could mislead you of the real Haiti.
In fact, as much as the current conditions could illustrate the hopelessness of a very dim reality, Haiti remains one of the countries with so much to look forward to the future. The possibilities to make something out of nothing are as real as ever. The country has been decimated by the force of nature, but it still breathes the air of freedom and progress on which it was founded.
When I was growing up, I witnessed the hardship of my mother. She worked tirelessly to provide the necessaries of life for me, and in return she only asked that I studied hard and valued my education. She knew that through education, a better tomorrow was possible. Indeed, as we go through a phase of complete irrelevancy of the Haitian state, we must keep an emphasis on the value of education, if we are to build a better Haiti.
Young children of today might not see much reason to bank on the hope of a better tomorrow, but if we are able to provide them access to a sane and safe environment for education to flourish, they might turn out to build the Haiti of their dream.
Living in non-human conditions, and with little reason to believe that things will get better can be a recipe for long term chaos. The youth of my country, voiceless as they may be, and irrelevant as they may seem remains the strength and glue of the Haitian society. It has long been said that the youth is the future, but today we are proclaiming that the youth is the present.
The moment is not about following leaders who will lead us to meaningless demonstration without results, but rather it is time for those leaders to start providing the tools that we need to become self-sufficient. We have had too many young Haitians questioning their “etat d’etre” state of being, when in fact we should have been questioning our state of thinking. As we approach a new era in our history, we should make sure that we do not become history, but instead to make history.
It is within our capabilities to change our conditions. It is possible that future generation of Haitians should never question why they are Haitians, but that they should glow in the glory of our ancestors and the indelible will of our desire to progress as one people.
For us to move from tent city to a paradise country, the youth of the country must be allowed to hope. There should not be any limitation put on their potential, for a child born in Haiti should have the same access as any children born anywhere in the world. The earthquake should not be reason to raise another hopeless generation. The coming hurricane’s season should be used in the argument against providing access to the necessaries of life to all Haitians. As we try to move forward in precipitation, let us never forget those who left us on January 12th. Many of them left this earth in sheer hopelessness as they tried relentlessly to cling to the dim light of hope they had left as they take their last breath.
We owe it to them, to never let so many of our own die with so little hope. The prosperity of Haiti, whenever it comes, should be as a result of the value we put on the lives of each and every Haitian regardless of their stature in society. Hence to properly acknowledge the creed of our nation that unity makes strength, we ought to start by allowing all Haitians to hope in a future that will not bring more hardship, but one that will make them proud to be Haitians regardless of the obstacles of life.