The following article is reprinted from Gary Wood’s Running on Full Today web site.
Armchair quarterbacks try to come up with the answers for how to make things work in the rescue efforts in Haiti, following the earthquake. “Why don’t they just…” is often heard wherever people gather. It is all said in an effort to try to find solutions for the daily images of pain and suffering we see broadcast by the media. We are a nation that wants to help. But without knowledge of the culture and the way it functions, our hands are tied and there are bottlenecks preventing or slowing down help getting to the people it’s intended for.
It is difficult to understand why the help Haiti needs is not readily available in their country already…or why they can’t just google Amazon and have it delivered right to their door.
Even in the best of times, Haiti does not have the resources that we have learned to take for granted. Could it be that at least some of the problems come from confusion caused from trying to “help” Haiti through the filter of our own North American cultural mindset and habits? If that were indeed true, and I believe that it is, what can we do?
A Haitian doctor expressed sincere gratefulness on a news segment, but he then said, “But, this is our country. Don’t tell us what we have to do.” He is a doctor. An educated man. Are you wondering why he said that?