Thursday, February 27, 2014

Socialism? Maybe not...


Hope you are doing well and the Lord is blessing you!

God has definitely blessed my life.. while in Haiti, and every other day since I have been on this earth. He is GOOD! Amen?

First, before I share my story, I want to say that we finished the greenhouse! But... the wind destroyed it..

Anyhow, moving forward from that experience; I was talking to one of the translators/workers, Bob (for his protection), around the Live Beyond compound today and learned some very interesting information. This will not be a long post (not long for me, anyway), but I want to give an insight on how blessed we are. It's easy to forget our freedoms when we aren't defending them or in a world where such does not exist.

We went to go check on some Haitian Olive (Moringa) with a farmer, to see if I could use the leaves for a study I am doing. The young man, probably late 20's, generously agreed with no problem. This man's home was pretty well kept and was a little better than the "typical" Haitian home in Haiti. He had fenced in turkeys, puppies that actually looked like they weren't neglected, and he and his family looked to be in pretty good health. As I noticed his nice stead, I couldn't help but wonder how a man so young could "have it so nice." Oh, and his farm is larger than average. 

With my curiosity turning the wheel in my mind, I thought on it as we traveled back to the compound on the rough, dirt and rock road in the TATA (Indian vehicle - I don't recommend them). I tend to be extremely overly analytical from time to time, if you're thinking that about me right now. With my "research-minded approach" that I've had for everything since being here, I decided to ask Bob how the farmer got all of the land. His response: "He claimed it."

He farther then, after more inquiry, explained that people who were born in Dalma (the community) had a right to all the land. Basically, the community owns all of the land, and a farmer can claim whatever is being unused. My first thought, besides "I'm so confused," was "Umm.. okay. Communal farming?" I have read about places, particularly in developing nations in Latin America and some in Asia, where there is communal farming. However, I was corrected; this is not the case. As I fished in the mind of Bob, it was like fishing as a child again; so frustrating because you want the fish, but exciting with each nibble of the fish. 

After finally breaking down my questions so we were on the same page, I got the explanation. The Haitians born in Dalma share the deeds to all the land in the community. If a piece of land is sold, then it is split among the individuals in Dalma. Right, so that's socialism? No.. someone born of Dalma can claim their land to farm on; that land and the "profit" from the farm is theirs until they die. Then, it is opened back up.

I thought this was kind of bazaar, and continued to press. Bob said in his home community some of the people lost their deeds, or "da papers" as he called them, so the government came in and kicked them out. I've also heard of another instance where this has happened. IF the family can keep up with the deeds (in their clay-built homes in an arid and tropical climate) they can pass the farm down, but if anything happens the government comes in and takes over. When the government gets in "they do what they want." 
Bob says many communities keep all of the deeds together so that they are not lost and they can keep the land where it belongs; in the hands of the community. 

Two things learned from this:
  1. Never judge a person, group, culture, etc. for something without knowing the back story. It could have easily been left with "They share the money from sold land. They're socialists and that's that Haitian problem." Instead, I learned the back story, and honestly, who can blame them for doing it that way? 
  2. WE. ARE. BLESSED. In places all around the world governments are oppressing people much worse than the American government (*not dismissing our own problems). We need to be more thankful that we don't have to worry about the government kicking us off the land we own or out of the houses we built. 
To end on a positive note: Bob told me a story of a community where the government came in and took over because the papers could not be found. Eventually a man found the papers and the people rose up and took their land back!

God bless you.. and remember to pray that He blesses everyone else in this world too; not just you, not just your family, not just America (or whatever country you may be in), but the entire world!

"And we know that all things work together for good to those that love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."
Romans 8:28


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