A note about “Loving Haiti” by Julie Peters Akey
Done by: Nery Santos Gomez
Good authors seem to wield a magic wand … they transport you to a place where the pages come alive with smells and flavors, where you vibrate with the rhythms of life, smile with the joys and cry with the sadness. Good authors make you live intensely through the letters as if these were little boats that will take you to that place. This is definitely the gift Julie Akey Peters gives you with her excellent writing through the book “Loving Haiti”. Her works are like lyrics, allowing you do more than visit this Caribbean island. They transport you, inspiring compassion, affection and love for this misunderstood island.
This is definitely a very human and real book, based on the real experiences of a woman who worked hard to make a difference. Julie Akey teaches us that you just have to begin to love and to be compassionate, and the power of this place will multiply your efforts. Whether it’s roofing a school, giving a pencil to a student or hugging a child… everything counts, everything can help to change a person life and change the world little by little.
Comfortably on my sofa in Bogota with Julie’s book in my hands, I’ve experienced firsthand the tragedy of the earthquake and the improvised fields of tents scattered throughout the city. I’ve visited with sadness the improvised cemeteries. I’ve climbed on a crowded tap-tap (colorful bus that is used as a means of collective transport) and watched with horror as a passenger falls from the chaos to his tragic death.
Akey’ letters lead us into hospitals as onlookers to unthinkable heartbreak. We witness the streets filled with dead bodies; but we also witness the miracle of life in childbirth and see the author saving a person’s life after an accident. We visit makeshift schools (that are reserved only for those who can afford it.). In one episode, justice is practiced at the hands of the citizens, ending in the slaying of a young thief of cows. We read about the island’s history, and its crippling corruption, from the time of slavery to the terrible dictatorships and current presidents.
Nevertheless I also feel the warmth of the island, I dance every night to its music, and I feel the sincere friendship of the family that shelter the author. I can acknowledge gratitude and witness that despite everything, love also flourishes. Loving Haiti illustrates how one person’s passion can inspire personal and collective actions that can change lives.
This is a book that shows us how we can intervene where it seems impossible to help. And it is an important book for those who want to know Haiti and the particular experience of a person who was involved in a beautiful and compassionate project to change and save lives.
Nery Santos Gomez