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The United States Should assume Primary Responsibility of the rebuilding of Haiti
post Mar 7 2010, 06:33 PM
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Agree or disagree?: The United States Should assume Primary Responsibility of the rebuilding of Haiti
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post Aug 19 2015, 12:48 PM
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I want to add too, that based on what I had seen, the Haitians no longer believe in the legitimacy of their own government. You have unmotivated and apathetic peoples who are still in the process of living hand-to-mouth. These people squat in lines with their back to the wall (literally), waiting for the next handout from the U.N.

The U.N itself is in shambles over there. You'll frequently see U.N bases with the words "U.N" spray painted on the building reminiscent of some half-assed gerry-rigged attempt to differentiate itself from the broken shambles of the gov't on the other side of the street.

I would say that these foreign actors and institutions are to the Haitian people, alien ideas and far away concepts to which the Haitians have no care or interest for. They take what they can and get on with their lives.

I had the fortunate opportunity to stay in a hotel occupied by the likes of Mr. Bill Clinton i.e "Hotel Karibe" which was, like I mentioned, fabulous and obviously far beyond the means of the average Haitian. It was an interesting sight to see; sitting in my hotel room, looking through the window across the valley one could see a mass of make-shift homes put together with scraps of paper, metal and plastic similar to the Brazilian Favelas. It was painfully obvious one side of the valley was vastly different from the other. I think in America we call that the "wealth-income disparity".

And afterwards I went to a well known beach-resort some where down the country. It was interesting to see Haitian workers there who humbly served us but with distaste and apathy in their eyes. Based on the interactions I had with these people I couldn't help but feel that these people found us to be not a human being but some sort of money-dispenser. The Haitian people are kind folks. But they will take advantage of your naivety and take everything they can from you. This is because the Haitians are quietly desperate people.

Anyways, while I was at the beach I found myself becoming more and more angry and bored so to entertain myself I starting asking inappropriate questions to our Haitian guide who brought us to this beach;

"Your family would never be able to come here, right?"

Our guide was a gentle man who kept his head low in all of his interactions with us. But I claim now that I saw a flash of anger in his eyes. I don't remember his reply because I had gotten what I wanted. His emotions told the truth and that was all I needed to know.

The amount of help these people need is staggering. There are poor everywhere. After a while I found myself only able to take a sick sort of amusement at all of the suffering I had seen. There was no way I could humanely process or take care of these people or even to empathize with all of these people in any sort of meaningful way.

On my last day there I finally was able to pick up a sample of the famous Haitian mud-cake. I had been hearing rumors of these delicacies and had decided for myself to try a hand at it. These pies were an innovation born from the desperation of the 2010 earthquake and subsequent famine. The crumbled roads you see are in some ways a result of this earthquake. (That's how famine happens. Food can't get from point A to point B if the roads are closed off) Essentially these cakes are made from drips of butter and mud, baked in the hot sun of the Haitian country. They're still somewhat consumed by the ultra-poor but the majority of the mud-cakes are sold as novelties to the tourists passing by.

It's said that other countries view Americans as a kind of an ignorant, loud mouthed cowboy. I can verify that this is true in Haiti. It's just not verbally expressed since these same cowboys funnel money into the country in one way or another. But I was given no respect in this country unless I was handing over the "all mighty dollar".

Finally, when I happened to be passing by the Haitian white-house, I stopped to take pictures of the broken building. I had my DSLR so some young Haitians stopped to interrupt me. Based on the tone of the initial conversation I assumed I was about to be mugged or threatened. A few young men had asked if I was a journalist to which I said that I was not. They told me that they didn't appreciate me taking pictures of their building. My guide had recommended me to not stick around too long so I tried to make the best of the situation so when they told me that they thought it was "a sad state" I agreed and I made out of there as fast as I could. I know I said more than that, something glamorous or idealistic about how they had the power to make change and that one day things could be better if they were willing to put in the hours to do so and that was the end of that.

I found one lasting legacy that Haiti left in my heart was the distaste of NGOs generally. I can't really go into detail about what I saw but my claim is that these people who run the various NGOs in Haiti were only using the Haitians as a stepping stone that they would have a greater state of influence in the eyes of the U.N. They weren't there to help the people of Haiti. They may have convinced themselves of that but they were there for their own means. And of course I met a few young girls who volunteered at these organizations. They were full of themselves, naively idealistic, and had no sense of how the world actually worked. I was shocked and dismayed at what I had seen from these people.

But there was one young Haitian girl who was developing a sense of attraction to me. She was a beautiful young girl, slim with long legs but with a hard face. Obviously she had experienced more hardship than I have ever faced before. But I was cheerful, sly, and mischievous and so I think she was attracted to that in me. I wonder if I would have stayed in Haiti forever I would have married her. We never really talked though, but the attraction between us was there. On the final day when we all took a group picture, I had kneeled down behind another fellow, placing my hand upon his shoulder, this girl had mysteriously placed her hand on top of my hand. I was shocked and excited at her boldness but I kept still and pretended like I wasn't aware of her action.

I still think about her sometimes or the Haitian people in general. I don't know what they'll need but I do know generally that these people need a revival in their hearts. Apathy leads to the death of a civilization; it'll certainly kill the Haitian people if they do not choose to move forward once again. You can throw money at a situation but that does not guarantee anything at all. The people themselves must find a reason to move in a positive light.

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