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The Story of Haiti Marycare

Optimism and Hope

I recently heard someone describe the difference between optimism and hope. Optimism means things will get better soon, because good always prevails. Hope means that good will prevail, but many will get battered down beforehand.

When I first went to Haiti, I was optimistic and I expected things to get a little better each year.  But there is a Haitian proverb that says, “Beyond the mountains are more mountains.”  Even though we have had many small successes in Jacquesyl, life has become harder in Haiti.  There has been violence and much confusion. Political and civil strife wrack this country.  There are still many mountains ahead.  

However, I believe that there are solutions to Haiti’s problems. I have witnessed how hard the Haitian people work trying to make a living and feed their children. I know mothers who barely eat so they can pay for their children to go to school. I have witnessed men digging ditches and wells with axes and shovels so their community will have access to clean water.  I have seen children whose mothers walked long distances to have them vaccinated.  I know many men and women who are working to make their communities a better place to live.  Despite years of dictatorships, economic isolation, and poverty, the people continue to have real hope for a better future for their children.  Many have died without seeing their dreams realized, yet Haitians continue to hope.  

In my work, I see not only the children, I see their parents and the community that they live in.  I believe that to bring a better future to the child, we need to help the family, the community, and the country.  I believe that these children should have the same opportunities as my own children for proper health care and a good education, for a future.  

There is a common expression in Haiti, “Kembe pa lage,” which means “stay strong,” or “don’t give up.”  To stay strong, Haitians have to believe that there are solutions, that there is a future, that there is hope, that some day their dreams will be realized.  If they are so hopeful, how can I not be? 

Another proverb is “Lespwa fe viv,” or “Hope makes us live.”  Hope is what draws us back to Haiti.

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Optimism and Hope