Naje pou soti.
I have the amazing privilege of taking Creole lessons from a friend here this summer. Our lessons consist of me telling him a story...after which we walk through what to fix of my grammar in the story. Then we switch: he tells me a story, I listen, & then I tell him what I heard & ask questions. This phrase came up last week. This apparently is a common Creole phrase which means "swim your way out." This phrase is rooted in politics, but apparently is also used in day to day. President Preval was the one to initiate it- hoping to encourage the people to improve the country: build & improve schools, hospitals, roads, & the agricultural climate. To empower people to help themselves and not depend on the government for everything.
But things have changed. Now, Haitians use the phrase to mean more like "swim to survive." And it can be used as an excuse. To steal, not look toward the future, or participate in not-so-honest business dealings. To just get by. With the UN having a constant presence here & so many aid organizations here to "fix" the country's situation, the survival mindset lives on.
But we have a God that lives amongst us. In the suburbs, the cities, & the slums. So we join with those who see God amongst the struggle. And we may swim, but we swim in the clear waters of a beautiful Caribbean island. And in the trash-filled waters of Jubilee.
"Christ has no body now on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes through which Christ's compassion is to look out to the world; yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good; yours are the hand with which God is to bless people now."
~Teresa of Avila
"People may come to our communities because they want to serve the poor; they will only stay once they have discovered that they themselves are the poor."