The first news of the day was tough to take. Tragedy has once again come to the impoverished nation of Haiti. By now everyone following the news knows it is the poorest country in the western hemisphere and that 80% of its people live in poverty.
What might not be remembered are the news reports from 2008 when the Haitian people were making cookies with dirt and oil and water. As food prices around the world began to rise, those were the only ingredients some caregivers could obtain to mix up and feed their children.
In the spring of 2000 I visited Haiti and witnessed living conditions beyond the imagination of most Americans. Aside from the natural beauty of the Caribbean nation, the inspiring thing about being there was the warmth and friendliness of the Haitian people despite their daily shortages of food and water.
The tiny nation has a history of revolution and rebellion making it also one of the most politically unstable nations in the world. That, of course, contributes to its material poverty; but also speaks of the spiritual strength of a nation whose people will continue to fight for their collective rights.
In Reflections on a Haitian Pilgrimage I wrote about the difficulty I was having coming to terms with the disparities of this world. As tears filled my eyes watching the news this morning, my mind raced to come up with an explanation for the seemingly unending suffering of the Haitian people. I realize it may seem absurd to be looking for a silver lining in this dark cloud of catastrophe, but in taking this approach I am finding hope that Haiti will receive the humanitarian aid it has long-suffered a need for.