I initially intended to write about the remainder of my Turks & Caicos trip and share fun stories and pictures. But the journey hasn’t quite come to a close yet. As it turns out, I met a really kind man at the Providenciales airport. So I’ll begin with his story. The other stories will follow shortly.
His name is Paulcius Verceus and he’s from Haiti. He was sitting with a friend, speaking about the upcoming Presidential election in the U.S. I looked over and smiled at him. He glanced down at the passport in my hand, smiled, and said, “Please, when you go home, vote for Obama!”
“This is bigger than America. The WORLD needs change,” he pleaded. I assured him I am voting for Obama. He continued, “With Obama there is hope. He may even help fix some things in Haiti. If McCain wins, we have no chance. The economy will get worse. People won’t be able to afford to travel anymore. I won’t be able to travel from Turks & Caicos to see my family in Haiti. We also need people to come to our country. Tourism is one of the few sources of money in Haiti and if people stop coming, we’ll have less money than we do now.”
He continued, reciting information he’d heard on the news, concerns about voter fraud, concerns about Ohio. He is as informed about the issues and current events as most Americans I know and this election is just as, if not more, important to him as it is to us.
Paulcius cannot find work in Haiti, so he obtained a visa to work in Turks & Caicos. “I do construction. It’s hard for me to save money because I send most of my money back to Haiti to help my family. I’m paying for the children in our family to go to school and supporting my mom and dad who can’t find jobs either.”
While his life may sound bleak, Paulcius is constantly smiling. Ideally, he’d like to live in Haiti where he can be with his family and have more personal freedoms than he does in Turks & Caicos. But as long as he’s able to find work in Turks & Caicos, he’ll stay there. “When your family calls and says they’re hungry and beg you to send money, what can you do? When you feel it in your heart, there’s only one thing you can do. And I thank God that I can do it. I am the one who’s blessed.”
He found a song on his MP3-playing watch and let me listen until he saw it was time for me to board my plane. “Maybe one day if I don’t die and you don’t die, we’ll see each other again. We don’t know what the future holds. When you’re a child you can think and dream and have hopes for the future. But when you grow up you learn that only the future knows the future.”
“Well, I hope we do see each other in the future,” I replied as I stood up to gather my bags and get on the plane bound for Miami.
“I will keep you in my heart” he said with a big smile, hand on his heart.