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" I don't have enough money"

H A I T I

By Natasha CollazoPublished about a month ago Updated about a month ago 3 min read

The little island off the coast of the Caribbean known as Haiti, is easily a place where foreigners would call this “The land of purgatory.” An experience that I had the opportunity to embark on at a time when it was considered “safe” to travel there.

To my knowledge, Haiti has never been a safe place as we were escorted back and forth by Haitian locals with machine guns before dawn settled in. This was back in 2015 so, I am sharing with you how I remember it.

How I remember it is a place where the innocence of all species was stripped from them without even knowing it. Our system likes to call this “culture.” For me, culture isn't as unsettling of a word to describe the sights my eyes beheld. No living thing should have to live in a “culture” on any planet where newborns are scraped out of the rubble and brought into rehabilitation centers which we visited. Children who were lifeless, connected to wires and feeding tubes had a 5% chance of survival when they were brought in, but the beauty of each story is truly immaculate as so many of these same children grew up to have happy endings and families of their own. Remember, this was almost 10 years ago. Social media has granted me the privilege to reconnect with some of these orphans who were just children or teens at the time and follow them on Instagram watching their lives flourish from afar. That is one of the greatest fruits that came out of my experience in 2015.

So, what is the difference between Haiti then, and Haiti now? Well for starters, just entering the country at any point today even for journalism reasons could be a suicidal experiment.

The country is being overridden by mass gangs and political outrage. Innocent blood is shed for the sake of having a voice. The people have had enough. There's no limit to how far an unhinged mind can descend. The tyranny led to the burning of any place people could run to for safety such as hospitals and police stations, locking down the airport after the release of over 4000 inmates.

The picture you see above is the beating heart of Haiti, the innocent. The pulse that keeps it alive, or what's left of it. Smiles I captured along the way on my journey there. Some of the most grateful people I had the pleasure of meeting were the people of Haiti. In my time there, I had the pleasure of assisting medically and teaching a class of about 40 children, some with zero education only going up to third grade. The absence of God, or any knowledge thereof was non-existent. A memory which struck the title for this article, was when I asked an elderly woman if she would like to know who Jesus was and she so kindly replied through our translator who was a young teen boy,

“I don't have enough money”

She thought Jesus was an object that cost her something. My only response to her with a frog in my throat and goose-pimples rising on my skin was "Lucky for you, it is free"

The young boy then interceded, informing me that most of their people do not know of any God and turn to the dark forces of vodou sacrificing their soul just to provide immediate answers and that praying to a God in the sky does not.

This made sense to me, as the God of the Bible is a God that grows faith through patience and long-suffering, but promises peace in the midst of hardships.

My eyes were opened to the desperate plea of not just the urgency in needing food, water and shelter, but the urgency of hope.

Photo I captured (as well as the cover photo to the entry) during a game of Rachel and Jacob pronounced Rakel and Yacoub

photographyhumanityculturecaribbean

About the Creator

Natasha Collazo

**Studying Modern Journalism NYU **

Student @ American Writers & Artists Institute

Project: The diary of an emo Latina (2025)

Content and freelance creator

✍🏽

Inquiries: [email protected]

Instagram: @sunnycollazo

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Comments (11)

  • Shirley Belkabout a month ago

    All the "firsthand" knowledge I have of Haiti is from one of my favorite students from there. She never said anything about the ravages of her country or the problems in ours (which is now hers.) She seemed to only see the beauty in both. She brought so much love and laughter to all around her. It seems that you did the same when you helped in Haiti. I'm glad she found a safe place and I hope that for all your friends, too.

  • Novel Allenabout a month ago

    Even though I am Jamaican, I have never visited Haiti. It seems to get worse as time goes by. I remember donating to a cause after the floods, I wonder if any of it helped. So sad the things that people do to each other to survive. You were brave enough to take that trip and teach too. Hats off to you Natasha, If you can help at least one person in life, you have done great work. Helping more than one, a blessing. Great work.

  • Thank you for sharing this story... it is tragic but a story that should be heard and understood.

  • Thanks for this tragically beautiful account… I’m fairly certain that Haiti has been known as one of the most impoverished places on earth, for many decades. Understandable in the circumstances, but sad to believe Jesus is unaffordable! So true: ‘ The God of the Bible is a God that grows faith through patience and long-suffering, but promises peace in the midst of hardships.’✅

  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarranabout a month ago

    My heart got caught in my throat too when she said she doesn't have enough money to know Jesus. Truly heartbreaking. Everything needs money nowadays, I don't blame her. My heart goes out to all of then 🥺❤️

  • Rosie𐙚about a month ago

    This really pulled my heart strings!

  • Rachel Deemingabout a month ago

    What an experience to have. These stay with you forever and shape you, don't they?

  • Anna about a month ago

    Wow, amazing story! It's one of my own life goals too: traveling to places like these and help the people who need us! This was a beautiful story, and I'm sure it was way more touching experiencing it in real life❤️

  • Rick Henry Christopher about a month ago

    Outstanding essay. You put so much care into this essay. It really hits the heartstrings. Great job!!! This could almost be a companion piece to the poem I just wrote: "Shelter."

  • Alex H Mittelman about a month ago

    Amazing story! ♥️☮️

  • Kendall Defoe about a month ago

    This is a very powerful piece of work, but you should watch some of your punctuation.

Natasha CollazoWritten by Natasha Collazo

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