I have been actively looking for the good for years. I pay attention to the company I keep. I don’t watch violent movies or listen to music with violent lyrics. I monitor my thoughts so that I don’t dwell on negativity and judgement. I subscribe to Ode, http://www.odemagazine.com/doc/,the magazine “For Intelligent Optimists,” and YES! http://www.yesmagazine.org/ which describes itself as “Powerful Ideas, Practical Actions.” I want to know what can be done and is being done to solve our problems. I want to live each day filled with hope. Sometimes, that’s not easy.
As exciting as immediate access to everything that’s happening everywhere has been and continues to be, the tragedies that bombard us through the media can feel overwhelming. They affect perception. I heard of a study documenting that people who watch the news frequently have a more pessimistic view of the present and the future. I can believe that. So I make an effort to seek good news, and the Internet is filled with good news, if you look for it.
I came across some good news recently in the Huffington Post. There is an organization that is working to improve the future of Haiti. It’s named Nouvelle Vie Haiti (New Life Haiti), http://nouvelleviehaiti.org/, a project of the International Association for Human Values. It has all the elements I love: it’s low-tech, uplifts and empowers people, and is making something great out of distressing circumstances. This leadership training program features a volunteer Youth Corps similar to the Peace Corps. It is geared to Haiti’s under-30 population that makes up 70% of its people.
In one of its programs, trainees are learning about sustainable agriculture by growing earthworms and turning rotting organic waste collected from the marketplace and restaurants into nutrient rich compost that will help bring life back into Haiti’s severely depleted soil.
To quote their Program Director Uma Viswanathan, “They are helping Haiti battle the resignation - reinforced time and time again by failed leadership and broken trust - that in Haiti, things never change. We don’t need to wait for the $11 billion in aid to come in. There are solutions. There are things we can do right now.” In the video on the web site, one of the young men says, “After they’ve finished with the course, people change, they transform.”
I have wondered how Haiti can ever recover from its bankruptcy of leadership and resources, and the horrific hurricane and earthquake that darkened its land. I am so happy to know that hope is brewing.