As I write this I can hear Christian music playing away in the background, close to the house. I’m a little surprised, but not totally. In Jean Rabel it was an everyday occurrence but I wasn’t sure it would be so here in Port-au-Prince.
Obviously, I’ve been aware from the outset that Haiti is a Christian country with the vast majority of people claiming to be Christian if not indeed, Catholic. There are any number of Christian variations of churches right throughout the country with services in full swing at any hour of the day, and well attended.
I believe it’s what keeps the people going in their struggle for survival, because of what they are enduring here. The majority of those I have encountered, particularly in Jean Rabel, are struggling for survival, if you look at their situation from a Westerner’s perception. They have none of the trappings of what many of us might call ordinary civilisation, a bed to sleep on, a chair to sit on, a wardrobe for their belongings and certainly they have no TV.
They are living from hand to mouth and just about getting enough food to survive, but they seem to have a strong faith and a strong belief that God is on their side and can do what they ask of Him. They are not ashamed to express or display their belief. It’s common to see people wearing rosary beads around their neck or wrist or hanging from their clothes. Perhaps it’s a comfort to them, to wear these items as a sign of their faith. They are also not ashamed to say ‘Thank God’ or ‘God willing’ particularly when they refer to anything that might be occurring in the future, it’s a firmly held belief that what will be in the future (and that might only be tomorrow) will be ‘si vlé Bondyè’ if God wills it!
Shops and trucks are named with Christian virtues such as ‘Patience Shop’, ‘Charite’ or ‘Charitable’. Then you see trucks emblazoned with ‘God is Good’, ‘ Miracle De Dieu’, ‘Thank you Lord’, ‘Thank you Jesus’, ‘Fils De Dieu’, ‘Dieu Avant Tout’ or simply, ‘Divine’, letting you know in no uncertain terms the importance of the Haitian people’s faith and trust in God for everything.