Eight years ago today, Haiti experienced a life-changing event. A 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck this small island nation, killing an estimated 230,000 people, injuring some 300,000 more, and leaving 2.3 million people displaced.
Today, while Haiti is in the news for another reason, I vividly remember the tragedy that struck this country and devastated the lives of so many.
I remember feeling such relief as I received word that each member of the PWW team had survived. And, as the dust began to settle (figuratively and literally), I, once again, witnessed the unbreakable resiliency and compassion of the Haitian spirit.
One thing I’ve learned through all of my travels and experiences is that people should be judged, not by where they live, but by who they are.
I have had the privilege of meeting so many Haitians over the years. I have been invited into their homes, shared meals with them, and exchanged personal stories.
Haitians, above all, are remarkably resilient people. I have seen them in the worst situation, following the earthquake. I have witnessed the extreme poverty of those who live in the slums of Cité Soleil. While they have faced extreme hardships, they persevere…and always with beautiful smiles on their faces.
Haitians are benevolent, generously sharing what little they have. They have profound dignity, immeasurable honor, and seemingly boundless compassion for one another.
Haiti is their home. It’s where they were born and raised. Haitians have hopes and dreams for themselves and their children, just like we have. They want their children to grow up, to get an education, to stay healthy, and to have good lives. Just like we do.
Today, on behalf of all of us at PWW, we honor the Haitian people and their glorious spirits. We remember those who lost their lives during the earthquake and celebrate those who came together to help one another survive.
We are proud and humbled to be working in this beautiful country, and we continue our commitment to partner with the Haitian people, working side-by-side to help them fulfill their hopes and dreams for their own future and the future of their children and grandchildren.
Isn’t this what we all want?
Carolyn Crowley Meub