Life is a strange beast!
We complain about whatever reality we live in. Whether rich, poor or somewhere in between. How many of us just step out of that box and try to change what we don’t like? Or try and change ourselves? In Haiti young men will spend thousands to leave Haiti and go illegally to another country, such as Brazil, because they think they can make money there. If they took that same money and started a business they could stay in Haiti with their families. They often leave behind a wife and very young children, knowing that they will never return. Their presence in their children’s lives will be infrequent phone calls and money sent western union. What does this practice teach their children? Does it say Haiti can not be fixed to ditch it and run away? Does it say I don’t care about you enough to figure out how to make money here?
This running away is a symton of people feeling hopeless, helpless, and futureless! These are intelligent young men who feel there is no future in their own country. They needed hope for the future and unless someone gives that hope to their children this practice will continue. In the United States we give people support through government programs when they are down and out. Not sure this is the best plan but we do it; Haiti does not. Here in the US we have free programs people can access to help start a business, get training, and redirect their future; not the case in Haiti.
So what does Haiti have? Well they have lots of organizations that are coming in supposedly to make things better, they have the ability to start a business without a huge outlay of money and they can get free land. So what is going wrong? Well, I don’t have all the answers, but you know I have an opinion!
What exactly are all these organizations doing? How many of them are giving Haitians to hope for their future? How many of them are offering classes on running a business, training in a trade, and/or helping them start the business? For $1000.00 I can help someone in Haiti become independent of their poverty. I can help them gain control of their life and of their families future, $1000.00! For $2000.00 I can buy a female goat for 15 children, teach them how to care for it, grow their heard and give them hope for their future. For $6000.00 I can help a village of 600 move away from poverty, by offering them a means to get their produce to market, allowing them to grow more and get it to market before it spoils. This extra money gives them the opportunity to provide their children with an education, medical care, and well, food and clothes. Maybe they would by solar panels for light rather than using old lamps, maybe they could get together as a village and put in a well, the maybes are endless.
Yes, rebuilding does matter. Some organizations are doing that. Certainly medical care and the building of hospitals are very important as is the building of schools. But if people can’t afford to go to the hospital or clinic or pay to go to school then we still have a weak link in the chain.
I would love to hear other peoples thoughts on this.
Jo drives a motorcycle for a living. He takes paying passengers where they need to go. He does not own his the motorcycle he drives. He pays $200.00 week to the owner and he keeps the remainder, he pays for the fuel and small repairs. Many weeks he does not make any money. Right now in Haiti the fuels prices are $20.00 USD for 1 gallon, he has not been able to work for 5 days! If he owned his own motorcycle when the gas prices are high he would not still own someone else, he could make a living and feel that he could move ahead with his future of marrying and having children. Right now he can’t even afford a house to live in, he lives with others.
This is Esaie and his Mum. She lives in the village of Boily. I have written about Boily in several posts. She lives by the land; she grows plantain, eggplant,and watermelon just to name a few. She has to get this produce to market. She has a five and half hour walk to the market, so she does not plant as much as her land could handle. She supports herself two grandchildren and two children off her land. Her struggle is a day in day out struggle with poverty, yet she goes on because she has no other way. She loves her garden and there is no place she would rather be. When Esaie offered to help her start a store she said “no, I like to garden”. A store/wholesale buying location would help move her out of poverty.