Friday, September 8, 2017

Book Review: 'Haiti After the Earthquake' by Paul Farmer

"You have made the earth tremble;
You have broken it;
Heal its breaches, for it is shaking." -- Psalm 60:2 (NKJV)

Our church teams with its counterpart in Port-au-Prince to operate an orphanage there. Naturally, we've heard a lot about the terrible earthquake and its aftermath. In addition, our pastor has helped coordinate some relief activities as have some church members. They have added perspectives, too.

Because of the great respect I feel for Dr. Paul Farmer and his humanitarian work in Haiti and Rwanda, I thought it was important to find out what he recommends should be done in Haiti. I'm glad I did because he has provided a valuable document combining many perspectives on Haiti's history, its vulnerabilities, what happened during and after the earthquake, and prescriptions for how to build a better Haiti from the rubble and pain. My understanding greatly increased. I especially appreciated the comparisons to Rwanda, which is another nation that concerns me for which and for whose people I also regularly pray . . . as I do for Haiti and its people.

If you don't know any Haitians, you should get to know some. They are fine people who deal with problems in a patient way. They also want to create a better nation. And they can . . . but some changes are required.

It's not all heartwarming in the book. You'll read some things about some journalists and relief "workers" that may make you feel angry and sad. In addition, the scope of the misery and devastation portrayed (the reality, not a false perception) is broad and unrelenting.

But you can help make a difference.

Start by reading this book. Then, pick something you can do to help Haiti . . . and keep doing it for the rest of your life. I think you'll be glad that you did.

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Donald Mitchell. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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