I look out the bus and to my left, I see the ocean flash its shades of turquoise and blue. On my right, lush, green hills. Glory. Absolute, beautiful glory.
I imagine the Garden of Eden couldn’t have looked much different than Haiti.
Then the pristine landscape is interrupted by shacks and dirt. Mounds of garbage line the streets where children walk to school and mothers carry their babies.
Poverty: a symptom of the fall of mankind.
I knew Haiti was a poor country—the poorest in the Western Hemisphere, in fact. But I had no idea how poor.
At the same time, I couldn’t have anticipated the beauty in the landscape. And in the people.
One such person is a mother in the Child Survival Program. Our group takes a short walk to a neighbouring community, trekking uneven ground and rocky terrain. I try to imagine carrying water—or anything else—up this steep incline.
We reach the top of the hill and our reward is a breathtaking view of the ocean. The sun glistens and a mild breeze offers some relief from the intense heat. I’ve found it again—the beauty and glory.
Yet the poverty snaps me back to reality. The mother takes us through her home, a one-room shack with one bed, a small table and a couple of chairs. Our group of six can’t all fit in the house at once so we take turns, speaking with the mother through a translator.
Her house, while small, is immaculate. She’s proud of the sturdy roof and garden outside. After the earthquake she lost everything. Compassion’s Complimentary Interventions (formerly Response Programs) provided her with a new home, malaria nets and a water filter.
But there is no poverty of heart or spirit in this woman. This mother carries herself with humble strength and dignity. We ask her where she finds her smile. She smiles even more broadly as she proclaims, “It is because of God that I smile. In this life, I have nothing. But Jesus is here with me—He is present! So I have everything.”
We too live in the midst of these two worlds, in the midst of glory and poverty. If we look for it, we can find joy each day like this dear woman in Haiti. And that is why Compassion will continue to reach out to the poorest of the poor—coming alongside what God is doing and bridging the gap between glory and poverty.
Learn how you can help bridge the gap here.
Written by Katy Causey, Compassion International