Let's face it - life is fragile. One mosquito bite or one glass of questionable water makes the difference between good health one day, and sickness the next. In developing countries such as Haiti, the very water needed to survive can also cause sickness and, for the young, even death. In Port au Prince, the wealthy purchase treated water while the poor depend on crumbling infrastructure. A documentary entitled "Drop for Drop" explores access to water in Haiti's largest city.
During a recent stroll to Jakzil Bourik (BOS) happens upon the unfortunate fate of a hoofed brethren in an unlikely place, a big blackened pot with sauce and yams. But he keeps himself composed and manages an interview.
When I see articles re-emerge about the clay biscuits the poorest of the poor in Haiti eat, as seems to happen every few years like clockwork, it frustrates me. We all know Haiti is a hungry country, but communities need solutions instead of pity, and partners who empower rather than provide handouts. Sometimes I read about well meaning groups in the United States that decide to box up food and send it to Haiti. Well intentioned but not smart - this is dependency and not development. Solutions exist and Kimberly Green of the Green Family Foundation writes about one in a blog she submitted to the Huffington Post. You can read it here but i have also copied it below.
The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) Foundation and the Inter American Development Bank recently announced a plan to ensure access to computers for over 13,000 Haitian students. Under the plan, the OLPC Foundation will provide 2 million dollars, the IDB will provide 3 million, and UNESCO will carry out an external evaluation. If the program is successful, and we hope it is, then it could be expanded further in Haiti and other countries.
Attached is an assessment carried out by the World Bank's Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (EMAP) on Haiti's reliance on wood based charcoal for its energy needs - estimated to be about 70% of total energy usage. Having read the assessment, I feel it raises some sensible interventions even if they do not go far enough. However, the strategy could provide a foundation upon which to build.
Though we are all different, we have this in common - we must eat to survive. In an ideal world, individuals, families, communities, and countries would be able to feed themselves. Needless to say, the world is less than ideal. For the poorest of the poor, climate change, population growth, environmental degradation and soaring food prices make feeding oneself increasingly difficult. The World Food Programme (WFP) plays a vital role in ensuring that vulnerable populations, including those affected by disaster and conflict, receive the food they need, in Haiti and worldwide.
Just out of the starting gate with only one interview under his saddle and already Bourik On Street BOS is receiving fan mail. It seems a little bird has fallen for this stubborn beast. Here is the Valentine Bourik received this February 14th:
Bourik On Street is your number-one source for on-the-ground coverage from Haiti.
For too long, Haiti has been in a communication stranglehold. Making a telephone call through the local Teleco station, when it worked, was a long and expensive ordeal. Sending a letter was like buying a lottery ticket - better to send it on the "Diaspora Express" by handing it to someone you know going to the U.S.A. But Haitians now have more communication options than ever before - the impact of cellular technology has been particularly dramatic.