"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines.

Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." -Mark Twain

>> Friday, March 30, 2012


Can you imagine being born without an identity? In a world where people are barcodes on a global grind, not having an identity takes on a whole new meaning. Stateless children are Haitian children born on Dominican soil. The Dominican Republic will not recognize them and their parents’ (or grandparents’, or great grandparents’) homeland, Haiti, will not accept them. The fact that this situation exists is beyond ridiculous, it is unacceptable, but as it is not immediately relevant or important to people with the ability to change it, it continues.
Emi is a stateless orphan. She is six years old and a beautiful girl with an amazing, unsupressible smile. She is shy but if you let her in she’ll talk your ears off even though she knows you don’t understand her. When I first met Emi I was attempting to dig out a big glass bottle but I didn’t have one of the few shovels available and was getting pretty annoyed moving the dirt around. One moment it was two dirty white hands shoveling away, the next it was two dirty white ones and two small black ones.
Emi had not been one of the many touch-starved orphans to launch themselves at me upon our arrival but had waited until she had my undivided attention. From that bottle shard on Emi did not leave my side. She walked miles around her village with me, not complaining when her friends got piggy-back rides and refusing to let anyone carry her small bag because I had told her it was “bonito”. Besides being one of the most deserving, kind-hearted kids I’ve met Emi is an amazing artist. When I brought out my colored pencils she forwent the typical flower-sun-scribble and drew me her home. She drew a landscape of spirals, mountains and waves. She drew a gorgeous world, a dreamland which was unmistakably magical. Looking at her art (it was art in the purest definition of the word) I couldn’t help but compare her to myself at six. I was a spoiled child who resented the art classes my parents gave me, who refused music lessons and ditched FLY (French group). This girl had a world of potential, but unlike me, she was not going to have any opportunity to cultivate it.
I will never choose to live in guilt, but Emi is never going to leave me. Today, I have a world of opportunity. I could be anything I want, Emi can’t and in her current situation she will never be able to. People tell me that I can change the world. I am not sure how realistic that is, but whatever I end up doing it will change Emi’s life. I won’t forget her.


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