Country Proverb: Haiti
Written by Plant With Purpose on April 14, 2015 in Proverb
By Sierra Robbins
“Dèyè mon gen mon”
Translation: “Behind mountains, there are mountains”
Haiti’s famous proverb is fitting for a country whose indigenous name, Ayiti, means “land of mountains.” The terrain of this Caribbean island consists of small coastal plains, river valleys, and a landscape of rugged mountains. Decades ago, it also contained lush forests: in the 1920’s, sixty percent of Haiti was forested. Today just two percent of forest remains.
On a recent Vision Trip to Haiti participants visited a marketplace where they met partnering farmers from the community of Kadiso. Kadiso is perched on a barren mountainside and is unreachable by road. Community members hike for hours down steep slopes just to reach the marketplace and sell their produce. Kadiso is so isolated that no one but Plant With Purpose staff were willing to go there; one farmer named Abel shared that “government officials only work in the lower areas, and Plant With Purpose and its staff are the only ones who come and actually do what they say they will do.” The stories of the people of Kadiso and their overflowing gratitude towards the staff of Plant With Purpose, reaffirmed our hope and faith in the work that Plant With Purpose is doing in Haiti.
The beauty of the proverb “Dèyè mon gen mon” lies in its ability to resonate with a multitude of meanings. Too often the mountains of Haiti, these immutable and enduring displays of nature, are perceived as an obstacle. For a rural farmer, every day presents a new challenge to overcome. Behind every obstacle lies a new one; behind mountains, there are mountains. Yet each hindrance we experience has a gloriously transformative power. When approached with tenacity, enterprise, and, ultimately, faith in God, obstacles have the amazing potential to become triumphs. This is the story of countless farmers who have transformed their circumstances and greeted challenge with hope. The villagers of Kadiso are experiencing this daily, finding empowerment and opportunity every time they hike the steep slopes to the busy marketplace.
Instead of seeing these beautiful mountains as hindrances, they can be seen as magnificent demonstrations of God’s love and power. While we may grumble at every hurdle trying to bar our success, we should focus on how to learn and grow from them. This is a universal skill, just as valuable in the United States as it is in Haiti. We are grateful to be able to walk with our partners in Haiti in this quest—or in this case, hike up mountainsides.
As the Haitians say, Bondye Bon! God is Good!