Sunday, July 2, 2017
Poverty changes people
Many outsiders have a hard time understanding why it is so difficult to obtain information from Haitians, and once they have the information they are looking for, it turns out it is not exactly the truth. But rather it is part of a narrative that can be repetitive and adjustable.
For Haitians in poverty (and even for those who are not) truth is a flexible means to obtain what they need. The underlying motives are often hard to discern, but usually have to do with what people see as self interest which might not be at all what we define as such. This different understanding of what truth is exactly, often leads to misunderstandings and even resentment on the part of foreigners, especially Americans.
This flexible understanding of truth is not a character flaw, but rather a coping mechanism to deal with the unremitting poverty. It is a survival mechanism that is not completely selfish, but rather a way of obtaining basic needs. Once this objective is achieved whatever comes of it it to be shared with those with whom they live.