I don’t fully realize why I put myself through it until days afterwards when the tightness subsides, the soreness in the muscles evaporates and the numbness of my body dissolves making movements like standing, sitting and walking possible without grunting or wincing. It is only after all this that I begin to recall and can share the stories of the many amazing people and encounters had along the road. And it is only after this that I have the mind to really appreciate the beauty of the experience. And equally be astonished by the absurd contrasts of unequivocal spirits against relentlessly hard living. The French poet and philosopher Andre Malraux after visiting Haiti for the first time decades ago said of it, “Surrealism finally has a country.”
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is active in Haiti in a number of different areas. One if its priorities is the prevention of child abuse. In advance of a forum in Vienna next week organized by the UN Global Initiative to Fight Trafficking (UNGIFT), IOM releasd a video to raise awareness of the plight of an estimated 173,000 Haitian children internally trafficked for domestic servitude, known as Restaveks.
The Singapore-based Center for Management Technology has been holding a series of conferences on Jatropha - what it is, what it can do, what it can't do. The next conference will be held in Miami on June 10th - 11th. For those interested in planting, harvesting, and processing the Jatropha plant in Haiti this could be an invaluable networking opportunity.
I have seen several articles lately concerning the clay biscuits that the poorest of the poor in Haiti eat to make the hunger pangs subside. This is not a new phenomenon. Much of that clay comes from an area in between Hinche and Thomonde, where I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer. We all know Haiti is desperately food insecure, but with hunger being such a complicated issue, do we know what to do in order to respond? What would a Haitian “war against hunger” be like?
Rome Foundation is a Tampa based non profit organization that is involved in building health care infrastructure and in promoting livelihoods in Haiti. Its staff are active in the southern portion of the country and recently secured thirty acress of land in the Petit Goave Area. They are currently raising funds for the establishment of a Jatropha nursery - an innovative way to both fight erosion and create jobs at the same time.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the world on Thursday to take action against water shortages. Whether we are talking about global health, economic growth, or global peace, how water is managed, used, and shared must be taken into account. As a developmental and humanitarian issue alike, water shortages will need to be addressed nationally, regionally, and globally.
Student activism. During my years at the University of Miami, I became a part of the large community of students who were frustrated that we lived our daily lives through textbooks as our global community continued to struggle. As students we used this frustration, coupled with our idealistic visions, to give us a passionate drive to "make a difference". But how long will this spark last and why should we invest in these young leaders?
It's been said that a person's first language is the language of the heart and the second is the language only of the head. Is it possible to really understand a country without knowing the predominate language? I don't think it is. Haiti is often called a Francophone country, and while the politicians and wealthy speak it, they are a minority. The country is Kreyolphone! Below is some information on Haiti's only widely spoken language and some resources for learning it.
According to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Climate change is making it harder for many people to access clean water and food, and widening the spread of infectious diseases, which include malaria and its dangerous cousin dengue fever. If the past few years have become the new normal, we need to do a better job of adapting. This means preventing, rather than just responding to disasters.
Tequila Minsky is one of the newest members of the Haiti Innovation community. She is a long time Haiti hand who is both a photographer and a frequent commentator on Haitian issues. You can view her photographs by clicking here. Below are some blogs that she has written lately. Enjoy!