I used to think I’d get used to this eventually, this feeling where you’ve had something in your mind for a while and you’ve been talking about it but then things finally start happening and what was just an idea is officially a thing with numbers and dates and people. I’m starting to realize that it always feels like this when you’re making something happen: a mixture of exciting, terrifying, and most of all unreal. It’s amazing how far Project Rive has come.
We’ve still got a long way to go. What I keep having to remind myself is, “Chemen long pa touye moun.” That’s a Haitian saying that translates to, “A long road does not kill people.” We will get there, somehow, some way, and when we do get there everything along the way will be worth it.
In fact, getting there might even end up being the fun part. Not the easy part or the stress-free part – in fact, it’s sometimes a little hard to figure out what exactly is “fun” about the fun part.
That’s what I think people don’t get about aid work. This is the part that I’ve noticed a lot of people don’t get about aid work. They’re under the impression that the feelings motivating me to spend months and thousands helping Haiti are the same as the feelings that motivate them to donate an afternoon or ten dollars. I must be special, because I’m reacting more strongly and generously than a normal person would.
Part of it is about love and kindness – I’ve fallen in love with Haiti and its people, and I want to give them better opportunities to get an education and succeed. But this is the part where things start being less about love and more about obsession. You’re not consuming it; it’s consuming you.