Monday, March 20, 2006

Mwen la

One of the first things we all learned to say was "Komen ou ye?" or "How are you?"

Most people will reply one of three things:

1. Bien (Good)
2. Papi Mal (Not too bad)
3. Mwen la (I'm here)

Almost all children reply, "Mwen la."

On the surface this is a questionable response ... at least to our way of thinking. Britt & Paige started out saying "Mwen la????? Poukisa ou pa bien?" (You're here???? Why you not good?)

When you ask someone how they are; you really just want to hear that they are good. It is almost the automatic response and it is certainly the desired response. If you ask someone how they are and they say "not good", it requires you to take time and find out why. Most of us can honestly say we just hope the person we asked will say they are fine, that way we can move on without an extended conversation.

The response that Haitian children give is a reflection of their lives. It says a lot.

If they are here, well then...they must be doing okay. The statistic, even if not totally accurate is staggering. Nearly 50% of the children born in this country will die before they turn 15 years old. 25% die before their 5th birthday. Babies dying is just a fact of life, the people have come to expect it and it upsets them less than you would imagine because it is so common.