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A Letter From My Perspective- The Recovery Plan

April 2, 2010

I just wanted to add some of my thoughts about the recovery effort in general, in regards to the community.  I am doing community-based work here in Haiti, including child protection, stress/trauma relief and Carrefour Feuilles community-based mobilization work.  What I have witnessed thus far is the disparity between the decision makers and the people.  This comes from liaising with a range of big organizations and from liaising with the community-based organizations.  Haitian people cannot even get into the log base, even if they are working within the relief effort.  I sometimes have issues getting in myself, depending on what language I speak, and despite my American passport and having the organizations I am working with registered at the log base.  The no access, and the issue of no inclusion from the people is no way to begin a recovery plan.

I haven’t heard much talk about public, free, quality education for children here in Haiti.  You’ve seen my film, and so it is important that this be addressed, especially with even less work and opportunity for an education post-earthquake.  Until the plan includes community based projects where Haitians (not well connected Haitians, or friends of friends, but consensus from the people) actually happens, I am fearful of this plan supporting the international contractors and the private sector, not the people.

What is happening here on the ground vs what others may read or see is quite different.  I hear of Haitian people being mentioned as numbers, budgets, “security,” and not able to do the work of rebuilding their own nation.  People are being paid 180 gourdes a day to go into manholes with no equipment (a 6-hour day), and others are given sledgehammers to break apart fractured buildings and structures, again for 180 gourdes a day, meanwhile foreigners are being paid upwards to 206k with all expenses paid.  Meanwhile several lead agencies don’t have the capacity or the permission to be in the communities they serve, yet have been given major contracts…

I can only hope and dream that this plan be implemented in a way that breaks away from the failed system that breeds corruption and modern-day slavery.  I dont think anyone is holding their breath here and counting on this plan really helping the “people,” until there are some actions and proof that show otherwise.  It sounds good, and we’re looking forward to when the reality starts to look good.

In Solidarity

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