Page:Haiti- Her History and Her Detractors.djvu/323
The Haitians are not Lazy
As to cleanliness, it is a well-known fact that a laborer or a peasant never goes to bed without taking a bath, or at any rate a thorough washing, if there be a stream in the neighborhood. They are not sparing of soap and water. One must not judge them by their appearance when at work; they are not expected to be clothed like people who live in a colder climate.
Owing to his excellent hygienic habits and the wholesome food he lives on, the Haitian peasant is the personification of health: strong and robust, he is able to endure all kinds of fatigue and hardships.
Those detractors who persist in representing indolence as one of the principal features of the Haitian peasants either know nothing of them or have not taken the trouble of observing their customs; or else a few cases of laziness having perhaps come under their observation, they thereupon hasten to generalize. The fact is universally recognized that human beings exert themselves in proportion to the wants they have to satisfy; some of the higher classes there are who overwork themselves in amassing riches, but as a rule the masses will always strive to obtain all that they require by the slightest exertion of effort possible. This being such a well-known fact it is surprising that the Haitian people are not more indolent. They are not obliged to put away stores for the winter, there being none to put a stop to their labor in the fields; they have not to think of procuring fuel for the heating of their houses and of warm garments for themselves. The whole year through they wear the same light clothing; the ever-verdant fields guarantee the maintenance of both man and beast. They need not have anxiety about good or bad seasons; for the season is good from the 1st of January to the 31st of December. All this engenders a natural disposition to carelessness. Then again an exuberant vegetation supplies numberless articles of food to those who do not care to work. Mangoes, alligator-pears, bread-fruits, guavas, oranges, etc., grow wild along the roadside, where those who will may gather their fruit. The bread-fruit and the alligator-