Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Dear Beautiful Hispaniola

I joined my husband on a work-related trip to Hispaniola. What a beautiful island. We didn't see enough. What a beautiful people. We didn't meet enough. What delicious food. We ate a lot.

My heart is fraught with turmoil over what we experienced. Like here, there are extremes of poverty and wealth. But, the poverty seems so stark when it is unfamiliar. Schools without roofs, kids without shoes, tap water you can't drink, or no water at all. The desperation was embarrassing (one boy yelled out in Spanish as we passed his thatched home in our SUV, "give me something, I have nothing") but the joy and kindness was even more embarrassing. The caretaker of one of the homes in which we stayed prepared a 'feast' of bony, but delicious chicken backs for us. The meat was scarce on the bones and I felt trapped between knowing that this was her best offering and the awareness of what an insult it would be to turn down what was surely part of her families food allotment. At one school we visited, 10 children hovered around and shared one styrofoam lunch container of rice. They didn't fight over it, no one tried to hog it all for himself. I thought of my own kids who cry like someone is ripping their toenails out when things aren't 'fair'. I pray God would give me (and my children) a spirit like theirs.
Here are the little ones who most captured my heart.

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