I want you all to meet Rose. She is 16 years old and has lived in a Port-Au-Prince tent camp since the earthquake took place on January 12th 2010. She has two children and is pregnant with a third. Her parents died in the earthquake and her brothers and sister died in a cholera outbreak. She lives in a fucking tent in the middle of one of the most horrible places I have ever seen. The smell of burning trash and human excrement so strong that it burns you nostrils. I don’t write this post advocating for change or for someone to donate money to some organization. I am writing this post because I need someone to read it and understand.
Rose prepared a meal for me today and we ate together. We talked about how hard things are in Haiti and how important it is to boil water before she gives it to her children so their diarrhea stops. But it isn’t the things that we talked about that hurt so much, it was what we didn’t talk about: education, having options, dreaming of the future, singing, dancing, having certain unalienable rights such as life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. She told me today that she had never smelled a rose. I almost cried; that has never happened to me before. I have always been able to harden myself off to the things that one sees everyday in the “field,” as humanitarians call it. I leave Haiti on Monday to return home to my farm. How small I feel sitting at my keyboard writing this message to you all.