There are no words to describe the situation in Haiti. The first
adjectives that come to mind can only help paint a verbal mosaic of
what I feel—difficulty, despair, suffering, hopelessness,
impossibility,--mixed with fight, survival, singing, international
unity, strength, belief, resilience, small successes, and hope. The
emotional swing that comes from seeing the tent cities and men
fist-fighting for a bag of rice to receiving a hug and a smile from a
child at the NPH orphanage is almost too much. I have never in all of
my travels had such drastically different experiences.
As you know, I am an optimist. I love to see the silver lining in
everything. Here in Port-au-Prince the silver lining is faint. As
one long-term French NGO worker told me, “The boat is lost. It is the
individuals, the children, the small successes that make this work
worthwhile.” I don’t know. I don’t know if the nation is a lost
cause or if it can be saved. I don’t know if the people who have the
power are willing to give up their corrupt ways, if voodoo beliefs
that divide people can be mitigated, if the international community is
willing to give the nation economic opportunities to grow, and if
Haitians are willing to work their butt off to make these changes.
What I do know is that this is the last chance for Haiti. If it is
not successful in its current development effort I believe the
international community will give up and Haiti will become a failed state like Somalia or Zimbabwe.
But I do have hope. The children of Haiti can be raised and educated
to create a different nation. There is a resiliency that must be
nurtured and there are natural resources to be developed. Indeed, as
you may know I am working with a group of professionals to build a
community of 1,200-1,500 houses, a clothing manufacturing factory, two
schools, a clinic, etc. in Jacmel, about three hours south of
Port-au-Prince. It is my hope that through an NGO-resident
partnership we can create a model community that can be replicated
throughout the country. I’ll keep you up-to-date as we progress.
I have prepared a short presentation on my experience here which I
look forward to sharing both in Minnesota and in California. I will
let you know where and when so that if you are interested you can
I have also uploaded a number of photos. Please feel free to browse
through the to have a better sense of the current state of Haiti.
ak afeksyon (with affection),