Today, my dad paid all the lifeline employees for the month of March. They recieve their money in an envelope, amounts ranging from $20.48 to the highest paid emloyees at $66.27 (there's actually one much higher, the school director, who makes $175). This money is for an entire month's worth of work. I know, that as a fifteen year old, I made $20.48 in about two to three hours at each of my two jobs. How is that not totally insane? Me, a child with no bills or any sort of financial responsibilites, makes as much as the bread winner of a Haitian family in 1/100 of the time? I have a hard time not feeling totally weird/uncomfortable/sad/guilty about it all.
That's not even half of it. Mme. Maxo usually signs for the majority of the employees, since they cannot read or write. (Haiti is estimated to have a 50% literacy rate.) A newer employee, Mme. Emmanuel, was given her envelope and Dad asked if she'd sign the sheet. She replies, "ou capab" - which means "you can". In other words, you can sign for me since I don't know how. I watched her face when she said that and I wouldn't say that she looked embarrassed. It is just the way it is.
Yesterday another woman, who was given what amounted to about $5 US to buy medicine for her sick baby, needed to sign the receipt we use to keep track of lifeline finances. Her "signature" looks like this: x+. An "x" and a plus sign?
Can you imagine not knowing how to even write your own name?? Let alone, read? I know that I totally took reading and writing for granted. It's just something that everyone can do, like making toast. I am not going to beat myself up about the fact that you and I know how to read and write, since I realize that God has truly blessed us. Being born in America affords you all sorts of things, that we don't even consider.
It is just kind of hard for me to grasp that God blesses some more than others. A verse that relates to this is Proverbs 21:5 "The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, But those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty". Another is Psalms 33:12 "Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, The people He has chosen as His own inheritance." The Matthew 7:24-27 (see it down below) illustration Jesus gave is perfect. The United States was built upon a firm foundation, with godly men as her founders. Haiti was not built on that sort of foundation.
Now I'm not saying that this is the reason why Haiti is poor and America immensly rich, although it makes me wonder. There are LOTS of reasons, but for one of them scripture seems to point straight to it. You may think that I am being cruel here, but as I look into it more & more, Scripture holds true.
I love the people I have gotten to know here. I feel bad and have nothing but compassion in my heart, but there is only so much that one can do. It's just like with an addict, you can encourage them to turn from their bad habits, but only they can make the choice to get clean. To a certain extent, Haiti needs to help herself.
They've heard about Christ, they know who He is, but over & over they choose their ways over His and a relationship with Him. God may bless some more than others, but that does not mean He doesn't love them. He cares for them & hurts for them, desperately wanting for them to turn from their sins. (That is true for me too!)
Matthew 7:24-27 "Anyone who listens to my teaching and obeys me is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won't collapse, because it is built on rock. But anyone who hears my teaching and ignores it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will fall with a mighty crash."
2 Peter 2:20 - And when people escape from the wicked ways of the world by learning about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and then get tangled up with sin and become its slave again, they are worse off than before.
2 Chronicles 7:14 - Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land.
Isaiah 53:6 - All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
Psalm 72:17 - May the king's name endure forever; may it continue as long as the sun shines. May all nations be blessed through him and bring him praise.