Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Not Hopeless, Not Helpless: Haiti, the News, and a Reality Check

Here's yet another post about Haiti.

And here's what I've written before, about how a person can help. No pressure.
"...I prepared a list of charities and their contact information - Catholic and otherwise - for another blog, along with a regularly-updated list of posts I've written on what's going on in Haiti:That page also has a list of posts in this, and two other blogs, about Haiti...."
(February 22, 2010)
And one more link:So, what's the big deal about Haiti this time?

A Haitian bishop has something to say, about how recovery is going. The bottom line seems to be that the folks in that country are putting their homes, neighborhoods, and lives back together.

Note, please: Haitians are putting their homes, neighborhoods, and lives back together. I'm fairly sure that assistance from overseas helped - and will continue to be useful - but Bishop Pierre-Andre Dumas and Deacon Patrick Moynihan made an important point.

Whatever impression the news may give, Haitians aren't sitting on their hands, waiting for someone else to make it all better.
"Haitian bishop: Earthquake recovery enters new phase"
Rick Snizek, Editor, CNA Catholic News Agency (December 20, 2010)
Originally published:"With the one-year anniversary looming of the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake that rocked Haiti, killing some 230,000 people, a bishop from the beleaguered island nation says that while the recovery has been slow, it is definitely moving forward with much help from the church.

" 'There is new involvement of the church preparing projects for the medium and long term, something the Holy Father has encouraged us to think about,' said Bishop Pierre-Andre Dumas, of Anse-a-Veau and Miragoane, who also serves as president of Caritas Haiti.

" 'These are integral projects of human development: constructing houses and rebuilding cities,' he said...."

"...Despite the recent cholera outbreak, the school, and the surrounding neighborhood have remained free of the deadly disease in large measure due to the efforts of students. They have worked to instruct neighbors and their own families on how to use Clorox supplied them to sanitize their surroundings, according to Haitian Project President Deacon Patrick Moynihan.

"Deacon Moynihan says the preservation and advancement of the faith is crucial in order for a community to truly thrive, and he credits Bishop Dumas for his strong involvement and dedication to the youths the school serves.

" 'The bishop has been instrumental to helping us in one of our truly important activities, bringing young people back into the faith, and advancing them in their sacraments,' Deacon Moynihan said.

"The Haitian Project has also partnered with Catholic Relief Services, the largest provider of aid by any religious organization in Haiti, to help with the social and medical needs of Haitians.

"The deacon is frustrated with how the situation in Haiti is being portrayed in the news, however.

" 'They're underestimating the tremendous amount of work being done by the Haitian people themselves,' Deacon Moynihan said. 'We've watched for weeks and weeks the reporting of the terrible situation of the cholera without seeing one major newspaper covering Haitian doctors really treating Haitian people. That's what our students who've become doctors have been engaged in. That makes me sad.'

"He feels that portraying Haitians as helpless without the efforts of the international community takes away the possibility of hope and self-reliance being built within the people...."

"...'The church believes it is possible to help the people to find new hope, to help Haiti rise again and to participate in the spiritual renewal resurrection of our people. Little by little, we’re trying to do that.'

"Haiti's best years, he feels, still lie ahead.

" 'We want our kids, our boys, our girls, to be part of history,' Bishop Dumas said.

"'This is our history, to fight for life. I'm sure we will prevail.' "
If Bishop Dumas and other folks in Haiti keep that attitude - and keep to their prayers - I'm pretty sure they will prevail.

But then, I tend to assume that folks living in other countries are people. Living in different circumstances and having different cultures: but people, not all that much unlike my neighbors - or me.

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Background:Posts in this blog: In the news:

What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.