The Boy That Smiled
by Dr Hamid Kadiwala, SaveHaiti Volunteer Physician – August 2014
– A beautiful expression of Dr. Kadiwala’s experience in Haiti –
In an island nation long forgotten,
Full of misery and despair,
Where men must live like animals,
And food is scarce and rare,
Where fertile fields go untilled,
And feral beasts roam the land,
A place where the law has been stilled.
I came with naive hope that I could treat these people’s ills,
They came walking; they came running, shoeless and threadbare,
They came whether the road was burned by heat or drench by rain,
Carrying only their children and the burdens they had to bear,
In this manner a small boy walked to me with hope in his mind,
Please take care of me he cried,
Give me drops to see, for I am blind,
There is pain in my stomach, a pill is all I need,
From my rash’d body, a bottle of cream I am inclined,
And a vitamin for my weak limbs, a pill again is all I need,
I looked at him and tears welled in my eyes,
Do you not understand I cried?
These medications will not help, they will not succeed,
I have come to help you, yet now I must brush you aside,
I cannot help you, there is too much to be done.
He looked at me curiously, and then smiled wide,
In reality I did not come seeking your help he sighed,
I walked this long way, I climb these steps not for the pills I’d gain,
God is all I need; he will suffice my wounds he surmised,
But to save you from you, to cure your blindness and your pain,
You have been brought here to live like us, and so see what I see,
And listen– listen well, that your blindness may be swept,
Your showers are cold well water, but have you ever felt more clean?
The night is full of heathen chants, but a better rest have you kept?
The days are long and hot, but have you ever felt more cool?
There are no phones, no internet, yet have you felt less alone?
And the food is scarce, but have you ever felt more satiated?
Money is worthless here, yet more have you ever owned?
Open your eyes doctor and see what I see now,
When I opened my eyes I was surprised, and could not see how,
The grass was green and swaying submittingly to the breeze,
And red soil bursting with exotic fruit whose taste cannot be described,
Where beasts followed submittingly their masters they do appease,
The sky was blue and pure, the lake tranquil and secure,
The people’s faces were glowing, bright smiles that contrasted their dark faces,
And above it all the mountains echoed as if in unison,
Praising God above else, for the blessing he bestowed on this forgotten nation,
For now I understood why I had come, and what I had achieved,
I turned and smiled at him with eyes open that truly see,
Towards the one who had opened my eyes; that angel who had smiled at me.