Nearing the Return

Following are some of the thoughts bouncing around my head as I prepare for my second summer in Haiti.
Close to a year has passed since I left Mirebalais in July last summer, and a year has been spent in reflection and preparation for this summer. The days are slipping by and I feel, at times, overwhelmed by the mad rush of last minute planning. This summer will be totally different: different studies, different goals, different researchers, different me. Much like last summer, I feel as though as I am jumping into the deep end of a pool with no end in sight. The only comfort is the familiar shock. Surely it would be better to write of how confident and sure I am of the path forward, but that would be not only untruthful, but unrealistic.
I am beginning to realize the nature of development work. If the path forward was clear, the world would not be in a state of confusion and brokenness. Making sense of our disrepair is simply a condition of life, one which all the privileges and luxuries of America still cannot protect me from. This summer I will be asking this question alongside farmers and agronomists who also seek the path towards security, peace of mind, and fulfillment. Yet, we do have a tool to fix ourselves. I have met Gabriel, farmer, and Francique, agronomist, and they have met me. Despite our differences, I believe our struggle shares something in common. We look towards the future hopefully.
In fifty years, sixty percent of the current agricultural land in the world will be unarable. In the US, the system of food production is desperately in need of change, yet activists and reformers have had limited success in budging the industry to protect workers’ rights and farm in less harmful manners. The middle class is disappearing. Our broken capitalist system continues to produce a homeless population, and a working lower class pressed under the thumb of poverty. We perpetually invest in our defense systems and create enemies throughout the world due to careless military intervention. Where do I look to for hope? I hope that the countries we consider “developing” develop along lines different from our own, and learn from our mistakes. With a limited perspective, the US is heaven for some, and Haiti is in a disastrous state. But when I try to think of humanity on a timeline larger than my own, Haiti, and countries like it, could be the sites of a new evolution of humanity, and countries like America, the sites of the extinction of an outdated, unadaptable model of life.

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