Haiti hasn’t changed much since I was there last year. Some might say it’s cleaner, more built up, more on its way to stabilizing. Those people may be correct. Some of those people live in Haiti and seem hopeful at the progress being made. But for me, its hard to see. I see a country desperately in need of basic safety nets (health care, care for the old and handicapped, poverty assistance) and basic infrastructure (paved roads, access to clean water, plumbing and electricity in ever house). I also see a country whose history of Satanic worship, natural disasters and corruption haunts them; even after recently celebrating their 200 year anniversary of independence from France.
But I do see some hope too. Hope from organizations like World Wide Village who works on creating self-sustaining communities by providing education, health care, business, jobs and faith to the Haitian people. Hope for children like Jimmy and Johnson (pictured below) who go to a school built by World Wide Village, taught by Haitian teachers who were trained and are now employed, and watched over by a local Pastor who has been supported by World Wide Village. Jimmy and Johnson had two other friends near by – both named Jimmy. I spent about two hours talking with Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy (called “the Jimmy’s” by me) and Johnson while we walked through the community. They are sharp young men who love God and have regular meals – thanks to World Wide Village.
But for every child like “the Jimmy’s” or Johnson, there are countless others without homes, without food – despite having 6 children to feed, pregnant without healthcare and most important: without God.
You try not to let the math overwhelm you and keep on trying to help the few you can; knowing that at least those few will have a better life and future. Two of those are Milien (father/husband with 7 children) and Madeleine. Our group of 22 from Renovation Church was able to expand their homes so they could fit everyone inside safely and comfortably. Or Frankie (pictured below), who after talking with our group and the local Pastor, got connected with the church, given his first Bible and is on his way to a new faith and friends.
I believe our group of 22 Americans did a lot of good for the 7 days we were in Haiti. I also believe a lot of good was done to our group of Americans by being there. Americans are no better than the Haitian people – we just have more stuff.
One of the things I love about Haiti (and traveling in general) is eating the food. Haitian food is largely Caribbean – with lots of mango, rice, plantain, beef and chicken. The dish below is called Tassot and contains beef, fried okra and plantain and piklez - a sort of spicy relish made from peppers and onions.
I’d like to thank my friends Ryan and Melissa, who live in Haiti for the following recipe. They were taught it by a Haitian and I’ve made some slight changes to spice it up a bit!
- White rice, 2 cups – uncooked
- 4 Eggs
- ¼ cup sugar
- Laughing Cow Cheese – 4 triangles
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes or 1 Tbsp. hot sauce
- Evaporated milk, 12 oz. can
- ½ cup flour
- Vegetable oil
- Cook rice according to package.
- Separate the whites from the yolks of the eggs and add each to separate bowls. Lightly whisk the egg yolks.
- Add the egg whites, sugar, laughing cow cheese, vanilla, red pepper flakes and evaporated milk to the rice. Stir to combine.
- Spread rice on a baking sheet to cool for 10 minutes.
- Form rice into 1 inch balls and roll in yolks first, then flour to coat.
- Heat ½ inch of oil in a frying pan on high until hot. Fry rice balls in oil until done, rotating about every 2 minutes. They should only take about 6 minutes and be golden brown.