I know this blog is about inspiration, and most inspiration in my life tends to come from the beautiful things. However, some of it does emerge from dark moments, from feeling overtaken by sadness of loss, from wanting to make a change, from the realization of injustice. Today it is one year since Haiti was struck with a most-deadly earthquake, shattering the capital city of Port-Au-Prince and catapulting that small, struggling nation into the minds and hearts of the world. I remember standing in front of the small television in Andrew's living room in Cape Town, seeing those first images of a city in sudden ruins. A country plagued by corruption, poverty, disease and hunger shattering before our eyes. As the death tolls rose, my mind began to reel, realizing the many implications of this disaster, and the years of rebuilding, physical, political, social, psychological and spiritual, that lay ahead.
One year later, I know progress has been made. Dear friends have traveled to Haiti to provide emergency medical relief, to build homes and schools, to provide access to clean drinking water and to help local artisans make a living. The outpouring of love and support the earthquake inspired is beautiful. But it is a country in deep turmoil. In a Frontline special, a U.N. worker on the ground in Haiti emphasized that to see the nation's troubles as having started with the earthquake is to not see them at all. To think that is where they started, that one year ago today was the beginning of this nation's struggles, is to miss the big picture entirely. Similarly, to think that by simply repairing the damage done by the earthquake will fix Haiti, solve all of her problems, would be to doom that nation to a future far below the one she deserves.
The thing I am always struck by when these things happen is the extent of human suffering. And then, almost immediately, the power of the human spirit. Our capacity for resilience, for hope and faith. I suppose that is what we have to cling to, those of us struggling to survive another day in the streets and rubble of Port-Au-Prince, and those of us struggling to make change from the snowy streets of New York City, our hearts overflowing, connected, to those lands.