Saturday, March 30, 2013

Smiling Through Adversity

A Haitian smile is hard to beat.
It's crazy how we worry about things that never materialize. I think I'll stop doing that.

After several months of debating the wisdom of my decision to visit Haiti, fearing for my health and safety, I returned after one week there no worse for the wear. I did not contract malaria or cholera or dengue fever. In fact, not only did I return in perfect health, I never even saw a mosquito. (Today, back in Maine for just one day, I already got two bites.) I was neither robbed nor raped but instead enjoyed great companionship, was hugged a lot, and received more than a few kisses on the cheek. I met many Haitians, and even fell in love with a couple of them. And honestly, for what is billed as "The Poorest Nation in the Western Hemisphere," it was surprisingly upscale. Except for the noisy air conditioner in my hotel room that necessitated the nightly decision of being kept awake either by the ungodly clatter it emitted or by the oppressive heat that enveloped me when I turned it off for some peace and quiet, the whole place seemed pretty normal, if a tad hot. And while the menu is a little heavy on the rice and beans, the people seem a whole lot happier than they do here in the States. This is just a guess, but I don't think too many of them take antidepressants.

All in all, living in Haiti struck me as a far superior to living in Beverly Hills, for a lot of reasons. I'd rather die from cholera than a botched boob job any day.

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