Western society is built on the assumption that people are fundamentally selfish. Machiavelli and Hobbes gave us influential philosophies built on human selfishness. Sigmund Freud gave us a psychology of selfishness. Children, he wrote, “are completely egoistic; they feel their needs intensely and strive ruthlessly to satisfy them.”
On April 25, 2014 we had an artist’s reception for Christian Millien who is a 26 year old Haitian who has been living at the orphanage since he was eight years old. The orphanage is Kaye Saint Helene in Kenscoff Haiti where Corky, Kristi, Jean and Tom have volunteered for several years.
Christian was not at the reception but his many paintings were! When Christian was born he had many health issues and as a result he is in a wheelchair and has low vision. This has not hindered in a budding art career and love of painting. He has flourished under the tutelage of two Irish volunteers who are artists and Christian has become a talented artist! As a result, Christian is selling his work.
Driving through downtown Port-au-Prince it is heartening to see small signs of improvement: men were collecting huge mounds of garbage in the street, ditches were being dug and cleared and people dressed in bright yellow USAID shirts were working busily to clear rubble. This traumatized city of crumbling buildings and tent cities is going back to normal. The markets are open and people stream through them selling vegetables, housewares, chickens. A new business appears to have sprung up to fit the growing need of people to construct tents: branches as big as a fist are being sold on street corners, and people are working to construct new homes throughout the tent cities. The new homes have a base of branches, sheets and tents are hung to make walls and a roof.