There is a word in Creole: Degaje. It means to make do with what you have. In Haitian culture it is not a word as much as a way of life. Just being born in this country guarantees the ability to "degaje." A Haitian's life quality depends on the ability to make do with what you are given. To stretch 2 dollars to feed a whole family. To make up work and get a house to cover your head when there is no materials other than what you can find on a mountain. To cook a meal out of rice every day and make every variation of it possible so your kids will eat. To be happy with nothing to call your own, and to make a church service in the middle of a field and without any instruments. The kids make toys out of plastic bottles and bend hangers and tops of cans. They can make art out of rocks and home-made paint and make that into a business for themselves. To make their clothes and shoes last years. They can wash a white shirt in a brown river and somehow wear clothes that look like they were professionally cleaned and pressed. Haitians have an amazing ability to take what life gives at them and still smile, still praise their creator, still help others, still get up every morning ready to walk miles to get their water for the day. I respect the people of Haiti so much and would die to know what it was like to live like that- because I can't even imagine. Haitians are amazing people and their spirit and hope is something life-changing to witness.
The tragedy of the earthquake did not change this. Haitians have proven through all this to be even stronger than anyone can imagine. They have hope and an ability to withstand the pain and suffering with extreme strength. I admire Haitians and couldn't be happier to be here during this event in their lives. To pray with them and try to begin to rebuild their country, their homes, their happiness.