Christina Julien wakes next to her parents and two sisters on her aunt’s porch floor. She’s nine years old, lives in Haiti, and dreams of becoming a doctor one day. But right now, she’s running for her life.
At least 155,000 people in Port-Au-Prince (Haiti’s capital city) have fled their homes to escape violence. Christina is just one of them. In October, armed men stormed her neighborhood.
She and her family took refuge in another part of the city.
At least here they feel safer, her mother says—then adds, for now.
In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. — Psalm 4:8
Why the Trouble?
In the island nation of Haiti, the government crumbles. Gangs hold power. Ruthless leaders fight for control. Disease spreads. Earthquakes shake the ground. Hurricanes hammer the land.
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. It sits on an island called Hispaniola. Another nation shares the island: the Dominican Republic. In the Dominican Republic, sandy beaches stretch for miles. Resorts stand tall near the bright blue sea. Natives of the Dominican Republic are not usually rich. But most make enough money to live. Most can read. Good roads help them get from place to place.
It’s hard to believe poor Haiti sits next door. What went wrong there?
Hispaniola’s mountains block rain from Haiti. Winds blow rain toward the Dominican Republic instead. Haiti has rugged land. This means poor farming and little food. Haitians must eat whatever they can grow—which isn’t much! And in Haiti, services like school cost money.
Once, great forests stood in Haiti. The trees held soil in place. They helped prevent flooding. Now few forests remain. That exposes Haiti to natural disasters and harms farming.
Throughout history, other nations have treated Haitians badly. Haiti’s own rulers even sold their people to the Dominican Republic to cut sugar cane cheaply. The nation has not recovered from its difficult past.
Why? Scripture warns that the nations will rage. Human sin has put Haiti in deep trouble. But God’s peace is everlasting.