The catch-22 is this: on the one hand we want so badly to be about the work (and only about the work) of helping people. To help them dig out of their despair, to bandage their wounds. To, as Jesus said, visit them, clothe them, and give them something to eat. But the thing is, we must first be there. Not just get there, but be there.
It's a love/hate thing, sort-of. Because while I love the notion that we will soon have our own place (the last installment of our guesthouse furniture is currently enroute: bunkbeds, mattresses, shelving units, etc.), at the same time I feel like my time is stolen from being with the people I love so much. (I remember telling our board in one of Starfysh's early organizational meetings that things like fundraising and such don't charge me up nearly as much as being in Haiti, being with those we would help.
But the long view of "being there" requires more than showing up now and again. If we are to make a lasting impact, we must invest in presence. In a fully-equipped, comfortable guesthouse, ready and waiting for those who would come and invest a few days or weeks or months of their lives down here. In the vehicles needed to move compassion about the difficult terrain which is La Gonave's.
As we do all this, of course, we are laying program groundwork (water, agriculture, feeding, medical care), which is, for me, way more fun. The time is coming soon when the center of gravity of time and resources will begin to shift from readiness to implementation. In fact, I see it already happening. Happy day!
Buying presence. It's what must be done if we are to deliver radical, transformative change to this land.