Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Island Time

Dr. Will had some interesting things to say about Heath Ledger and depression. I think everyone is saddened at the tragic loss of someone with such talent. While looking at his blog, I clicked on his link to his niece's blog, Lindsay in Haiti. It looks like she is teaching in Haiti for a couple of years. She has some wonderful pictures of some of the children up there...but it made me cry a little bit, because it's just so sad that so many live in such abject poverty.

It reminded me of our cruise this past summer, where one of the stops was Haiti. We didn't venture out to the rest of the island--the cruise line doesn't recommend it--but stayed on Royal Caribbean's private beach. It's such a gorgeous place, as you can see.

We took a walking tour of the beach area, and our guide, Lamy, was such a neat guy. He was very matter-of-fact about his country's poverty. He said that he received $600 last year from Royal Caribbean, which is apparently quite a bit of money there, and he used a lot of it to buy a cow for his mother. The kids commented later that $600 was a lot if you considered the cost of living. We tried to explain that the concept of "cost of living" doesn't really apply when it comes to an area that is so poverty-stricken. It's not a matter of East or West coast prices versus Midwest prices...there are simply very few goods to buy, and no easy means to get to somewhere to buy what few there are. I think they'll understand it one day. There really is no comparison with what we have here.

As a secondary school graduate (our equivalent of high school), Lamy was considered a "VIP" in his family, and his duty was now to pay for his little brothers to go to school (which he was doing). He explained to us how most people have gardens where they grow much of their own food (thus the importance of the cow for his mother--fresh milk). He realized how far his country has to go, but he was very proud when he spoke about his country's independence--it was the first black republic, and they call her Mother of Freedom.

Reading Lindsay's blog and seeing the pictures reminded me of all that. I wonder how Lamy is doing? I wonder if he realizes what an impression he made on us? If you take a look at her blog, I hope it helps you remember how fortunate we are here. We may have our own problems to deal with, personally and as a nation, but if you put things into perspective, we are very blessed. There's a reason people want to come here. America has always been a melting pot, and I hope it always will be.

I hope her blog also makes you grateful for people who try to make a difference--her, my niece Jen who spent 3 weeks in Ghana to help at a kids' camp, my friend Felicia's father, a physician, who spends weeks at a time in Africa treating disease and infection...I'm sure we all know people who try to help others. We may idolize athletes, actors, or musicians, and I certainly love my entertainment, but our misplaced adulation should be focused on the "ordinary" heroes. They are the people who try to make the world a better place.


xaymacagirl said...

Well said. I'm going over to take a look at that blog now.

queeniemart said...

my grandmother, Jessie, basically raised me.....someday i will tell you the tortured life story of me so you have a clue where i am coming from in my entries....i swear i am not TOTALLY crazy....Jessie meant everything to me....and i was a chubby kid.....she weighed 100 lbs wet. She was born in 1899, on a farm and they had no such things are cars then or running water or electricity or anything that we now live with daily. Every day she would say "lisa jo, i love you, you are fat". To HER, obesity was a sin because the world she came from (Ky mountains), no one was fat....everyone was always a bit hungry and always exhausted.
I bookmarked Dr. Will and Lindsay. I loved reading about Lamy. He is someone's hero too, i bet.


luvrte66 said...

I know what you mean, Lisa. My mom's side of the family is also from eastern Kentucky, and it was not an easy life. I like to think my folks have given me an appreciation for what I have and for my life, and to encounter people like Lamy only reinforces that.