Friday 27 March, 2010
This is Muhoza echoeing from Port au Prince, Haiti. Friends, Words cannot really describe the devastation in this poor country! I have been in many countries, have seen countries devasted by wars, and conflict, but nothing can be compared to what the quake has done here. I wonder if this country will ever be rebuild again, even though the Intl.community seems to be giving some glimpse of hope to the locals whose houses have been destroyed.
I have spent most of my time in rural area in the locality of Bainet, village of Begin where I was mostly working with the youth and the local community leaders for my project needs assessment. I have been all to distribute some livestock to vulnerable families, send to school about 15 kids from poor families who could not afford school fees, distribute sports equipments to at least 5 groups (teams) who really appreaciated so much the pleasure of having a football, and wearing for the very first team sports uniform (les mayots).
For most of the hundreds of bored youth who had returned in their villages from the destroyed capitals having sports equipments to play in the villages was just a God giving thing. It gave them something to do, and an exciting environment after all the stresses and trauma they had experienced. The same feeling of gratitude was also expressed by parents who at least can see their youth happy and not threatening to go back to the city which no longer has a place for them.
While in P.A.P I also have been working with the youth. Due to lack of proper transportation I have not been able to go internet cafe as I wanted. The local transportation system here is awful.
As to whether there the city will be rebuilt, I am very skeptical given not only the track record of the intl.community where they have intervened, but also when I observe how the so called expatriates (westerners) working for bigger NGOs are living and doing very little compared to their means and their mission.Don`t get me wrong, whatever is being done is appreaciated and was badly needed. But I believe that much more can be done with the means in place if the Haves could only reprioritize their value system.
I have witnessed many organisations stocking tones of food, and supplies for weeks while giving as little as possible to only selected few like enough to get the sporadic available help.
I have been amazed at how these major NGOs are using the locals as volunteers and providing food as pay for the work done, instead of giving them jobs to sustain their families. But, on the other hand, an influx of westerners keep outpouring into Port-au Prince as workers. One wonders why westerners would be hired to be paid a tremendous amount of money as (expatriate) to come and distribute food, supplies or do construction work) that thousands of Haitians can do. Oops,
With my 10 years in the field of community development, I still have not really managed to understand the morals and the logics behind the system of the donor community. When will real justice, equity, equality of opportunity and lack of hypocrisy will be finally conquered by the simple logics of Justice!!!!
However, I must say how I was impressed by Haitian people´s resiliency despite all the odds again them. To be honest, Haiti is a failed state. That might sound politically incorrect, but that is my assessment. Despite the devastation of the earthquake, you can still see that the leadership of the country is and has been quite non existing to say the least.
The people on the other hand, are doing the best with the little, or rather nothing. You can see signs of life as people struggle to meet their needs through small street businesses, or working in shops taking the risks of staying indoor in a country where the majority of people sleep outside in the road. Even those whose houses were not destroyed many of them are still traumatized and prefer sleeping outside in tents for fear of having their houses collapsing over them too.
I urge everyone to pray for this country. Only God can uplift it from its misery, and usher.
Oh! How I really appreaciate living in Canada!!! Sometimes, it is important to leave Canada to really appreaciate its value. For anyone who has and will contribute to my life in Canada, I remain forever grateful and indebted to what this country of milk and honey has to offer its people, I, included!
Counting my blessings