Thursday, October 19, 2006

Bait & Switch

It is interesting to us to go back and see things we were thinking and feeling in earlier months. There is a definite cycle of emotions. Back in July, we were struggling with when to say yes and when to say no at this post.

Not much has changed in that area. Except maybe that right now it seems like you are actually helping more by saying 'no' ... we wonder if hearing 'no' more often might help the begging and handout mentality to decrease. If Haitians think that missionaries can solve all their problems, and even come to expect them to- There is no motivation to trust in, or lean on God, who is always enough and there is no reason to become self reliant or sufficient. The white guy becomes your savior.

The best and most used Haitian proverb of late is, "Si ou bay li salon, li va mande chamn" - If you give him the living room, he is going to ask for the bedroom.

Troy is using this one a lot. Yesterday Samson (also mentioned in the above linked July entry) needed to go back to Cazale for a re-check and to get more medicine. Troy agreed to drop him at the end of the road on his way to Port, gave him money for tap-tap, medicine and the appointment. As Samson got out of the truck he asked Troy if he could have money for lunch. Troy replied, "I give you the living room and you ask for my bedroom." Which was true, but also proved to be an excellent bait and switch because Samson chuckled and the other Haitian guys riding along chuckled and said "Oh, you know a lot of Haitian sayings!"

That was yesterday. At 7:30 this morning Samson was waiting for Troy. He has more needs.

There is a desire to find someone ... ANYONE, to take care of your needs in this society. Lots of folks along our road have a family member that "made it to Miami." That is everyone's hope. If you don't have someone to take care of you, then your full time mission is to find that person. Most folks don't have a main provider. Samson is hoping we are his ticket.

Samson is not lying. He has real needs. He is blind in one eye and losing vision in the other. He is a young guy, he does not have a relative in Miami sending money down to him. Many of his requests are legitimate.

We'll keep helping Samson as the spirit leads, but we won't ever solve his problems. We are not a permanent solution for him. It is one of the most difficult problems to solve when living in Haiti.


It is not easy for men to rise whose qualities are thwarted by poverty.

Do what you feel in your heart to be right - for you'll be criticized anyway. You'll be damned if you do and damned if you don't.
-Eleanor Roosevelt