Accessing Haiti

HaiDSCN4100ti on my mind…

Perhaps because I’m (self-)publishing a novel about one girl’s life there. Or because Haiti is never far from my heart. After several trips and reading everything I can find about the place and working for a nonprofit that creates opportunities for Haitians, Haiti is part of my spiritual DNA.

Another strand of that DNA is gratitude. That would explain why I regularly expound on both of those topics. So how do they fit in a blog focused primarily on MS and its effects on the Christian life (and vice versa)? The gratitude thing is obvious. A grateful spirit is more resilient than a selfish and grumbling one. (See 1 Thess 5:16-18 vs Phil 2:14.) I’ve written on the subject more times than I can count. If you have too much time on your hands, do a search on “gratitude” and “thank” in that Search box in the upper right hand corner of this page to get a general idea.

More than once, I’ve described how my exposure to the plight of Haiti has enhanced my “attitude of gratitude”. That outlook would be increased infinite-fold for those with a disability. Haiti is not the place for you if you have mobility issues. It’s not so friendly getting around even if you’re fully mobile.

Here are some photos to consider when we feel like complaining about accessibility here in the US:

DSC_0390 DSC_0572 DSC_0596 DSC_0599 DSC_0604 DSC_0739 DSCN1025 DSCN3201Does this mean I’m advocating ignoring accessibility problems at home? By no means! When we see injustice anywhere – and right to access is a social justice issue – it should motivate us to fight it everywhere.

But we should also have a world view that appreciates what we do have while we fight for what we should have. This country has come a long way from not that long ago when access wasn’t even on the radar.

Haiti already had a large population of disabled men, women, and children before the 2010 earthquake. The quake only (if I may borrow an MS term) exacerbated a bad situation by adding several thousand new amputees. Thankfully the government isn’t ignoring the situation, according to this article in a 2013 issue of Ability magazine.

Rather than just being thankful this Thanksgiving, let’s show our appreciation for what we have by helping others. Think of our neighbors who have a greater struggle than we do, whether those neighbors are next door or offshore. Do we have any more right to access than do the people in the developing world, especially since much of their plight is the result of exploitation by wealthier nations such as ours? Is there anything we can do to move them forward to the place we are now?

Sometimes it’s hard enough to get through a day with MS, but it would only be worse in Haiti. My thoughts are motivating me to start researching how I can be part of the solution.

How about you?


About rickconti

It's not about me, remember?
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