I have found myself getting really angry at times during the past few weeks. We took all the kids to the beach on Monday. Katie and I walked to go to the bathroom which was a ways away. Every group of Haitian men we passed had something to say about our bodies and the way we looked. They made comments on which one they would "take" or if we were attractive or not. They didn't know that I understood most of what they were saying as I passed by. The last group we passed was the worst and really made me angry. I should have just kept walking and ignored them but I didn't. I wasn't exactly representing Jesus in a gracious or kind way but I was mad and wanted them to know it! When I sassed back, they didn't seem to care and made even more disrespectful comments. I was furious and probably shouldn't have said anything to them but I couldn't help myself. I've seen men treat Haitain women like that as well and I despise this disrespect.
Earlier this week I went on a rant about the way that I've seen some American men treat Haitian women. The fact that someone is visiting Haiti automatically makes them "richer" and Haitians know that. It is for this reason that Americans need to be careful how they present themselves in Haiti. I don't want to abuse the automatic privilege I have that comes along with having "more". I have more opportunity, (I can leave whenever I want) I have more education (college degree) and I have more money (I paid for a plane ticket that costs more than some Haitians would make in a year). I have seen American men come to Haiti to abuse that privilege to get the attention of young, Haitian women. That's not to say that it doesn't happen with American women with Haitian men too but the few incidences that I witnessed involved American men and Haitian women. The American men got a fun time out of the attention they got from the young women and then they flew home without a second though. On the other hand, I can guarantee you that the Haitian women were hoping for more. They had hope of the security that money or a visa would bring. They weren't looking for "a good time." One situation I witnessed involved a girl who was only 17. I thought of little else for a week after I knew what was going on. I talked to some of my friends who are Haitian men about it. I wanted them to know that I did not appreciate that sort of behavior and I didn't want his behavior reflecting on me or others as Americans or Christians. I was shocked when they laughed at how seriously I was taking it. They thought that this man's behavior was acceptable. Well that just made me even more angry.
When I talked to Katie about it, she told me that she noticed me getting upset a lot in the past couple of weeks. After talking to her, we figured out that the things that were upsetting me the past couple of weeks had to do with how women are treated, especially here in Haiti. It really got me thinking that this is where my passion is. I thought a lot about how I really want to stand beside young women in Haiti. Especially those who grew up in orphanages and probably have very few strong examples to follow. I don't know what this will look like but I think I'm on to something. I really feel like God is putting this passion on my heart and I don't want to ignore it.
The longer I'm in Haiti, the more I seem to get an idea of the direction I want my life to go. It's coming along very slowly but it's coming. I wanted to learn a lot from my time here. There are many days that I feel like I'm not learning anything at all, but when I look back, I realize I really have. I guess I just wish I could have my life planned out for me and someone would just tell me exactly where I should be and what I should be doing. But it's not that easy and no one ever knows where they'll end up. But I'm getting more comfortable with the fact that things are always changing and as long as I'm learning and growing, then I'm doing okay.