Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Today was even more busier than yesterday. Dr. Karen's medical team treated around 400 patients. There were a lot of people who wanted to see a doctor. The team saw some serious cases with some requiring immediate care. Pray for the rest of the clinics they will be holding at other sites on Thursday and Friday. I am tired and will put more photos on tomorrow when I have more time. I decided today to talk about the children's and adult's pets. Our barnyard animals have sometimes been getting in the way. This rooster keeps walking over the fresh cement work that the cement bosses are doing at the side of the house. I asked Marie to tie him up and she said if she did this the rooster would get skinny:)

Aflac the duck is doing well but I think she misses not having a pond to swim in. Everyone here keeps telling me to get a male duck so that we could have baby ducks and duck eggs to eat. I haven't decided what to do yet.

When Jeff's team was here we had a special meal to celebrate having an enlarged kitchen and another school shelter. No, we didn't kill any of our chickens but we went and bought a large bag of imported chicken legs from the U.S. at Megamart :) Our young chickens are causing some troubles during the medical clinic. 2 of them keep thinking that the inside of their house is their home and they refuse to go outside. They have been cheeping around the doctors in their quest for food. It is all Johnny's fault. When they were little babies he let them sleep in the house with their mother hen and now they think the house is the hen house. Johnny promised me that when they were full-grown that we could eat them for supper :)


(Huffington Post) - By Eleanor Goldberg

When Matt Jones tells an auditorium full of students that he's rich, they usually laugh.

The 32-year-old doesn't quite give off the millionaire impression.

Jones looks young, dresses casually and runs a modest nonprofit that's using microloans to create jobs in Haiti.

But once the Poverty Resolutions ( ) founder explains his definition of "rich" -- someone who has a flushable toilet and enough to eat, that's when the students stop snickering. It's also when they start to consider contributing to his mission.

"We try to bring them to a point where they understand that 'rich' is having enough food. Rich is having a home," Jones told The Huffington Post. "I try to inspire them to see that a few dollars in Haiti makes all the difference in the world."

Jones doesn't need big bucks to create big change in a country where an estimated half a million people still live in tents two years after the earthquake hit.

He just needs Americans to understand how far a few U.S. dollars can stretch in a recovering Haiti.

Jones first learned that lesson when he and his brother, Andrew, moved to Port-au-Prince a few months after the earthquake and lived on just $1 a day, what 54 percent of the country subsists on. When the two would ask the mourning citizens what it was that they wanted most, they heard the same answer over and over: jobs.

"They didn't say 'give me a handout. Give me a shirt. Give me shoes,'" Jones said. "They said: 'I just want a job. I just want to be useful.'"

When Matt and Andrew returned to the states, they decided that functioning as a relief organization that doles out goods wasn't their calling.

While working toward his MBA degree at Penn State at the time, Matt realized that offering struggling Haitians microloans to start small businesses was the key to getting them on their feet.

"We want them to have ownership, not us," Jones said.

Since starting Poverty Resolutions about two years ago, the founders have just done that. They identify areas of need and create job opportunities around those areas.

After learning that locals lack protein, for example, the nonprofit decided to build a tilapia farm. Slated to open this summer on an acre-and-a-half of land, the operation will employ construction workers, one full-time farmer, and will eventually lead to more jobs for fish sellers, all the while bringing healthful food to Haiti.

The entire project will cost an estimated $10,000.

"It's future focused, and it's long-term focused," Jones said. "It creates a job forever, not for a minute."

Poverty Resolutions is in the process of developing what could prove to be another effective business model in impoverished Cite Soleil, which doesn't have electricity.

Though the residents have little to eat, and earn nearly nothing, they almost all own cell phones, Jones said, since incoming calls are free. The organization decided to purchase a cell phone charging station, which charges phones with solar power, and will employ one individual to run it. He will be responsible for eventually paying back the microloan.

"It will be a positive thing for the community and will create a business that will be long term," Jones added.

While Jones admitted that soliciting donations in a tough economy is challenging, he said he has the added advantage of pointing to tangible results that inspire people to help. A sixth grader with pocket change is moved to give when he or she sees how an elementary school is doubling in size with just a few thousand dollars. A young college grad with an entry-level job will give what he or she can when learning that 100 percent of public donations go toward the nonprofit's poverty programs.

"People are extremely generous," Jones said. "They can have almost nothing, and yet, they're giving to others. It's really cool."


(Business Wire) - By Pan American Development Foundation


The Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) (;_ylu=X3oDMTFuaWk1aGFhBG1pdANBcnRpY2xlIEJvZHkEcG9zAzEEc2VjA01lZGlhQXJ0aWNsZUJvZHlUZW1wQXNzZW1ibHk-;_ylg=X3oDMTJ0ZnZpcjFmBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDMmNmYmM3MGQtN2ZjZS0zM2VlLWJjYjQtMTJhOGI4MzFhNDMyBHBzdGNhdANuZXdzBHB0A3N0b3J5cGFnZQR0ZXN0Aw--;_ylv=0/SIG=17tc2l9o3/EXP=1331769056/**http%3A// ) is launching today a new program in Haiti to attract international investments in Haitian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as a key strategy to create jobs, generate income, and increase the development impact of remittances. The Leveraging Effective Application of Direct Investments (LEAD) program will be officially launched in the Haitian port city of Saint-Marc.

LEAD seeks to engage U.S. and other investors as well as the Haitian Diaspora in an effort to grow SMEs in Haiti and increase the development impact of remittances. The initiative will target SMEs working in sectors that have the greatest potential to create jobs, including construction, tourism, agribusiness, and alternative energy. It will also focus on encouraging job creation for women and the handicapped.

With major funding support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the four-year LEAD program is designed to strengthen the capacity of SMEs to engage in best business practices, and attract investment mostly from the Haitian Diaspora as well as other international and domestic sources to grow businesses in Haiti. The program will focus on three main development corridors, including Cap-Haïtien, Saint-Marc, and Port-au-Prince.

“Real, transformative change in Haiti can only come through private sector investment,” said U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Kenneth H. Merten. “Haitian small businesses are key drivers of the economy, but limited access to financing restricts their ability to grow. The LEAD project seeks to change this dynamic.”

LEAD will especially work with the Haitian Diaspora in the U.S. and elsewhere to engage them in targeted philanthropic activities such as investing into social businesses. The project will explore and develop innovative ways to use a portion of remittances to further the development impact of these resources at the local level.

The innovative LEAD program will use a grant matching mechanism to leverage private investment in Haitian SMEs identified through business plan competitions. Grants are expected to range from $50,000 up to $200,000, with at least a one-to-one match from outside investment. The LEAD project will also use grants to support social businesses in Haiti, which will leverage remittances where possible and further encourage the involvement of the Haitian Diaspora in local economic development. LEAD will collaborate with the Haitian Diaspora community in the U.S. to channel remittances to viable social enterprises and community projects, increasing their internal sustainability and external impact. Using Haitian implementing partners, LEAD will also provide targeted business development services to enterprises and social businesses under this program.

“LEAD is a significant initiative for PADF to decentralize sustainable economic growth and job creation. With our Haitian institutional partners, LEAD will succeed in helping Haiti further achieve its regional emerging market status,” said C. Ross Croulet, LEAD Project Director.

Follow PADF on Facebook and Twitter at @PADFORG. To learn more about PADF, go to

About PADF:
PADF is the non-profit foundation of the Organization of American States, established in 1962 to implement integrated socio-economic development programs for disadvantaged people, to strengthen civil society and community groups in support of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, and to aid victims of natural disasters and humanitarian crises. In 2011, it helped more than 7.5 million persons in 23 countries. Headquartered in Washington DC, PADF has field offices in Haiti, Colombia and other countries.


(AlertNet) - By Anastasia Moloney

PORT-AU-PRINCE – When the earthquake struck Haiti in 2010, the decision for Haitian-born Nathalie Tancrede to leave behind a successful career in finance in New York was easy. She flew to Port-au-Prince and has not looked back since.

"I always knew that I wanted to return to Haiti but I just didn't know when. So when the earthquake happened I asked myself what I could do to help," she said.

Tancrede now heads Pathways Haiti and co-founded the Artisan Business Network in Port-au-Prince. Both organisations help 700 local artisans sell their pieces - from handmade cow horn jewellery to bowls made from recycled oil drums and soapstone candlesticks - in places like Macy's store in New York.

"I help artisans better their business, find a niche for their products so that they have sustainable incomes and jobs," 37-year-old Tancrede said. "I feel like I'm making a real difference here."

She left the Caribbean nation as a teenager with her family, one of hundreds of thousands of Haitians, driven away by high levels of crime and the desire for a better life.

Others fled the country to escape the brutal reign of Francois 'Papa Doc' Duvalier and his son, Jean Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier.

For years the Haitian diaspora have provided a lifeline to their families back home, sending annual remittances of roughly $2 billion - which is equivalent to nearly 20 percent of the country's gross domestic product.

But after the quake many among the three million-strong diaspora wanted to do more than send money home. The disaster prompted much soul-searching among Haitians abroad about their role in rebuilding and shaping Haiti's future.

Many of the diaspora's young, educated professionals view themselves as Haiti's best hope and the driving force behind the development of the Western hemisphere's poorest country.


Their return could slowly help reverse Haiti's brain drain, which in recent decades has depleted its middle class and skilled labour force, including the country's doctors, teachers and business leaders.

Since the earthquake the Haitian government — once known for dismissing elected officials who held a U.S. passport - has been courting the Haitian diaspora to return.

"Haiti has a human resources problem which is very serious," Haitian Foreign Minister Laurent Lamothe told France Info radio during a visit to France in January. "There is a shortage of executives, therefore, we must have the return of the diaspora to help us, to accompany us in the re-founding of Haitian society and the reconstruction of Haiti."

Like Tancrede, Haitian-born Johnny Celestin felt the pull of home.

He left his job at a grant making foundation and sold his bustling café in New York's Harlem. Within weeks of the disaster, he was back in Haiti.

For him and many other returning Haitians, it is a homecoming fuelled by a mix of duty and nostalgia.

"Haiti is a place where I thought I could make an impact and really change the lives of Haitian people. It's very natural for me to be here," Celestin said. "When I’m in the U.S., I feel like a cog in the wheels. But here I can be part of something, of history. I can say to my daughter that I played a part in this change in Haiti."

"On my flight back to Haiti I started thinking what can I do, what can I bring. I realised I've been picking up skills to return home all along in technology, consulting, business and management," he added.

He first put those skills to use by fundraising for the humanitarian effort in the early days after the disaster. He then founded the Haitian Fund for Innovation, which helps Haitians start and build small and medium-sized businesses and local grassroots groups access grants and free accounting services.

"Haiti is a place where there are tremendous opportunities to help people create their own wealth, which is what Haiti needs right now," Celestin said.

Fluent in French, English and Haitian Creole, Celestin sees himself as a bridge between two worlds – the international aid community and local Haitian communities – whose relationship is often marked by mistrust and misunderstanding.

"We can be the interlocutor of both worlds. I can see the limitations and challenges of both worlds," he said.


Getting things done in Haiti, though, is fraught with difficulties.

Red tape, slow internet connection, intermittent electricity, long delays at customs and in setting up bank accounts and registering foundations and businesses, are just some of the daily challenges often cited by Haitian immigrants returning home.

"The bureaucracy is frustrating. We're still using bureaucracy that the French left us in the 1800s," Celestin said.

It also takes time to build trust among local communities, as Tancrede who runs the local artisan network, found out.

"In Haiti, most of the management roles are done by men so coming in as country director, it was at first a bit of a challenge because a lot of artisans are males and they thought I would be coming into their lives as a boss and telling them what to do," she said.

"But in turn they have found I’m an ally, so now that they can trust me, they can really speak freely and ask questions."

Carving out a role for the Haitian diaspora in the country's reconstruction - beyond propping up an ailing economy through remittances - is proving to be difficult.

Many from the Haitian diaspora feel the government needs to make them feel more welcome and included in the rebuilding effort. They are urging the government to introduce constitutional reforms, which would give them more rights.

Under the country's constitution, Haitians cannot hold dual nationality. It means those Haitians living abroad, who take up another nationality, are no longer considered Haitian and basically have the same rights as tourists.

More importantly, it means they cannot vote in Haiti's presidential elections and or run for office.

But that has not dampened Tancrede's enthusiasm.

"Being here is so special to me because it's home, it's home. I fell in love with Haiti all over again,” she said.

(Editing by Katie Nguyen)


(AP) - By Trenton Daniel

PORT-AU-PRINCE — Thousands of supporters of two-time President Jean-Bertrand Aristide rallied in Haiti's capital Wednesday on the eighth anniversary of the former leader's ouster.

The demonstrators accused current President Michel Martelly of not doing enough to improve their lives and pressed for the departure of the country's U.N. peacekeeping mission.

It was the largest demonstration against Martelly since he took office in May.

The protest comes two days after an attorney who claimed to represent Aristide told a local radio station that the government was preparing to investigate the former leader on criminal charges. But the justice minister denied the claim, and Aristide's lawyer in Miami said he did not know the man who made the announcement, but it still was enough to put Aristide supporters on edge.

"We're telling Martelly to be careful," said Jean-Claude Jeanty, a protester. "If the government plans to arrest him, we're going to burn the country down."

Wednesday's demonstration began in front of the parish where Aristide once preached as a priest. Protesters then marched through shanty strongholds supportive of Aristide and sang about how they had no fear and would not betray the ex-president.

Aristide did not make an appearance during the demonstration, which occurred far from his home.

Aristide was ousted during his second term following a violent rebellion, and he spent seven years in exile in South Africa before returning to Haiti last year. He has kept a low profile since his return but is still considered an influential figure.

The crowd grew as it approached the capital.

When protesters marched in front of the National Palace, they directed their anger toward Martelly and chanted, "We know you're not Haitian. You need to bring your passport. If you're not Haitian, turn in your passport."

Several lawmakers have demanded an investigation of Martelly, who traveled widely as a performer before entering politics, saying they suspect he holds more than one passport, which would bar him from office under Haiti's constitution.


(Defend Haiti) -

PORT-AU-PRINCE - There is no arrest warrant, and no complaints pending, against former President Jean Bertrand Aristide, said Justice Minister, Michel Brunache on Monday, denying rumors gone viral.

Drug trafficking, extortion, embezzlement of public funds, even manslaughter were among the charges speculating on social networks. But the Haitian Ministry of Justice and Public Safety, speaking to Le Nouvelliste on Monday night, made a "formal denial to the rumors that warrants were issued..."

A lawyer for the former president, Newton St. Juste, did confirm the existence of two cases. One against the former president and five of his relatives, and another against the Aristide Foundation.

Aristide's counsel said that records are being reviewed by the Central Unit of Financial Intelligence (UCREF), and if cause is found, UCREF will make recommendations to government officials to prosecute.

These reports were first commissioned by prosecutors under the Preval administration. A judge has not initiated any further investigation.

These rumors of an investigation of embezzlement and drug trafficking of Aristide and associates comes at a time when the international community, human rights organizations, and many in the press are closely watching Haiti seeking prosecution of former President-for-Life Jean-Claude Duvalier for human rights violations.

Duvalier will face trial for corruption but a number of victims have appealed the decision in an effort to add the cases of human rights violations to the charges.

President Michel Martelly is aligned closely to Duvalier, and before being in his capacity as president was very critical of former President Aristide.

Without a prime minister, no date has been set for elections that were due to begin in November 2011. An incomplete supreme court, the country still recovering from the earthquake of 2010 and since then, consistently on the brink of political crisis after crisis, could ill afford another one involving the popular Lavalas party of Aristide.


(Defend Haiti) -

PORT-AU-PRINCE - The "demobilized" soldiers of the Armed Forces of Haiti (FAd'H), who began occupying old army bases and rearming themselves, informed the public on Monday that they do not intend to decamp.

The resigned Prime Minister, Garry Conille, and the Minister of Interior, Thierry Mayard Paul, had asked them to disarm and return home, and they have not heeded.

In response, some of them visited the International Airport as the Head of State, President Michel Martelly, returned from a February trip to Venezuela, Panama and the Caribbean, to receive orders from the Commander-in-Chief.

In addition, the spokesman of the soldiers, Larrose Aubain, said that his colleagues have already met with competent authorities from the Minsitry of Defense, and will continue to occupy the former bases and train for the remobilization of the army.

On February 8, Senator Youri Latortue (Artibonite/AAA) called on Minister Mayard-Paul, also the Minister of National Defense, to convene with the senate to explain the mobilization of these forces training in the camps of Carrefour and the Central Plateau.

Latortue received a report from Senator Francisco Delacruz (Centre/Alternative), who found military veterans to have restored old bases and have brandished weapons from personal caches.

However, Aubain recalled that the Haitian Constitution recognizes the existence of two forces in the territory: The PNH (Police Nationale d'Haiti) and the army.

The Executive Director of the Platform of Haitian Human Rights Organizations (POHDH) Anthonal Mortimé, on Monday, has once again called on the authorities to take a firm stand against this situation.

"It's not normal that gunmen roam freely in a country under a context marked by increased insecurity particularly in the metropolitan area of Port-au-Prince," Mortimé advised.

A visit from the United Nations Security Council did not damage the efforts of the former military men to establish the national defense force. The civilian head of MINUSTAH, the United Nations peacekeeping force, has also called on the authorities to move from words to deeds, after estimating that these abnormal gunmen are occupying military bases.


(Haiti Libre) -

Friday, Michel Brunache, the Minister of Justice and Public Security, and the designated members of the Supreme Council of the Judiciary (CSPJ) have met to plan the swearing in ceremony, while taking into account the Act of November 13, 2007; organizing the CSPJ under Article 38, providing the previous certification of the designated members of the Council before taking office.

At this meeting it was decided that, "The judges of the Supreme Court will complete immediately the list of members of the CSPJ by designating the representative provided for in Article 4 of that Act. The Ministry of Justice form, as of Monday, February 27 the certification commission of designated members of the CSPJ. The Certification Commission will begin its work on Wednesday, February 29, 2012.

The final report of this Commission, will be handed over on 20 March 2012. The installation of members of the CSPJ will take place as soon as possible. Both parties attended the meeting, and are committed to act in order to comply with this timetable, which should lead to the installation of this Council, guarantor of the independence of the judicial power, and useful to the advent of the rule of law in Haiti."


(Haiti Libre) -

Ady Jean Gardy, the Chief of Cabinet of Minister of Foreign Affairs, Laurent Lamothe, spoke yesterday Tuesday, about the possibilities that Chancellor Lamothe has as a candidate for the position of Prime Minister of Haiti. Jean Gardy first noted that the current work, the various agreements initiated between states (Venezuela, ALBA, UEA, CARICOM...) must continue in one way or another, adding "we are ready, in a certain way to ensure the continuity of the State [...] if there are changes at the ministerial or inter-ministerial level, our decision is to continue to serve..."

Addressing the possibility of the cumulation of positions, the Chief of Staff explained "...this is not excluded, the Constitution provides that one can be Prime Minister and also hold a Ministerial position of his choice", adding that he did not think that Laurent Lamothe was initially interested to be Prime Minister. "Mr. Lamothe has never wanted to be Prime Minister of Haiti, it is not his first idea. The idea is to serve his country, to allow Haiti to have a new image. But you know, when fate takes you by the neck, it can take you anywhere. I believe today that what concerns us is to follow his destiny [...] and to be ready, and I think we're ready... [...] There is a willingness on the part of the Minister to continue his work. He is not here, as he told the Cabinet, to become Prime Minister. He feels very good where he is, but if he is forced by democratic trends to assume this position, he will; I believe he will.

He is still very hesitant, but we are ready at the Cabinet level to encourage the democratic process with Parliament, with the political forces, and also with the international partners to see how we can move in the right direction..."


(Haiti Libre) -

Senator Joseph Lambert, "supporter of the Head of State...", has confirmed changes in the Senate Committee responsible for verifying the nationality of members of the Government. Now the Commission is co-chaired by Senators Joseph Lambert and Moïse Jean Charles (who had been excluded from the Commission for bias?). The Senators Youri Latortue and Nenel Cassy are for their part, co-secretaries, rapporteurs...

On the other hand, Senator Lambert confirmed after investigation with the immigration authorities, that "records destroyed at the immigration office, in early February had nothing to do with sensitive documents concerned by the investigation around the nationality of members of the Executive", noting that although the government is resigning, the Commission intended to complete its investigation...

For his part, Senator Moïse has indicated that the Commission was planning to write again to the Head of State, commanding him to send his travel documents.

Although the Commission has ensured that no information will be communicated during the ongoing investigation,.... according to a parliamentary source who requested anonymity, .... reported that the investigations conducted so far on the travel documents of the President Martelly did not demonstrate the existence of foreign passports. The Commission has traced four passports used by the President since 1999, which proves that the President has always traveled with his Haitian passport. This source has stated that these documents are in the hands of Senators Youri Latortue and Steven Benoît [despite that, Senator Moïse strives to make the request to the Head of State...]


(Haiti Libre) -

During the Conference of Presidents held Monday in Parliament, deputies and senators have agreed on a set of points that President Martelly should clarify in advance, before starting the process of the designation of a new Prime Minister.

For Senator Jean Baptiste, the parliamentarians must take advantage of the record of ratification of a new Prime Minister to force the Chief of State to submit his travel documents before proposing names.

Several parliamentarians do not see favorably the three names proposed by President Martelly, to the extent where some of them are the subject of an investigation on their multi-nationality.

Senator John Joël Joseph, 2nd Secretary of the Bureau of the Senate, confirmed that the parliamentarians had placed a set of conditions that must be met before starting the ratification process for the next Chief of Government...

"...we can say that the majority of senators who were present have taken the decision to say first that [...] it is the President who must propose a Prime Minister, but it is not for the senators to say amongst three people, who they will choose [...]

They have gone further, by saying [...] that before the President completes the issue of the designation of a Prime Minister, he must first send his passport to the Commission on the issue of nationality [... ] all Ministers have submitted their documents; there is only the President who has taken the decision that he would not give his passport...

[...] They have also asked the President of the Senate to stop the steps he started on the question of the ratification of the new Prime Minister, while waiting to get answers on the question of armed individuals ,who occupy the former military bases [...]

They posed the problem of the university, after what happened [...] at the University of Ethnology; where several students were beaten [...] They asked the President to explain this approach that was taken to persecute students...

There is also the question of elections; we can not enter into the process of the ratification of a new Prime Minister, as long the question of the organization of elections in the country is not clarified. We know that the mandates of territorial collectivity came to an end [...] and that the Senate will be cut by 10 members as of May, so the question is asked that the President decides on the election issue.

They also talked about the question of the constitutional amendment [...] with what kind of Constitution will we go to the polls? So we know if it is a Provisional Electoral Council or a Permanent... We will wait until the President gives an answer on the question of the amendment, so that we, the Senators and deputies, .... can see us, in the future of the country in the future..."

In summary, our parliamentarians intend clearly to take advantage of the situation to attempt to obtain satisfaction in a new showdown with the executive, even if this this would block the country, whose interests seem clearly not a priority for them...

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Today was a busy day getting organized for the arrival of Dr. Karen McCarthy's medical team of 4 doctors and several nurses, pharmacist helpers and registration workers. We put a sign on the gate indicating which days the clinics would be held and people noticed it:)

By 1:00pm,when the team arrived they quickly unpacked and got to work seeing patients. Dr. Karen and her team are highly respected in the Delmas 31 community. Several people rely on her for their blood pressure and diabetes control. She comes to Haiti every 3 months and will give a patient with high blood pressure a 3 month supply. With these clinics there is follow-up during her next visit. Using her I-pad she enters the patients who need to be on medicines every day. We had a busy afternoon and the pharmacy was swamped keeping up with filling the prescriptions. The next clinic will be tomorrow morning and we will get an early start to the clinics at 7:30am. Pray for a successful week of clinics. We will be hosting clinics again tomorrow and Saturday morning. The other days will be held at another school. Pray for all those who will be helped and for strength, stamina and good health for the medical team. The medical team will be staying at Christian Light Ministries. It is great to see missions cooperate together to help serve the community. Pray that more missions in our community will also cooperate together in His service.

It is late, so I won't be posting any photos today, but tomorrow I will:)


(Huffington Post) - By Aurelie Mathieu, Florida State University

When filling out any type of application, the check box for race always comes up. Although most of them state that it will in no way affect your chances of being selected for that particular program, it does bring in a lot of questions.

I was born and raised in Haiti where I lived for 14 years. Never did my identity as far as my skin color confuse me as much there as it does in the United States. My family comes in all different skin tones imaginable; that's why I never questioned the fact that I'm the lighter one out of my 3 siblings. Being an independent country for over 200 years now, Haitians integrated enough to become just one race: black. It really astonishes people when they find out I'm full Haitian; as if we fit a certain mold that I just do not seem to fit. My dad has brown skin, my mom has fair skin; I was born lighter than both of them. I'm a complete recessive gene; I have brown hair and green eyes whereas the rest of them have black hair and brown eyes.

When asked for race, the only one that fits me is black although most people may not see it right away. It is the dominant side of me and that's the person I grew up to identify. Frequently, people come up with their own philosophy to try to understand who I am but shouldn't I be the person who knows me best?

Recently, I had to go get fingerprinted. I was given a questionnaire that asked me multiple personal questions including race. Like always, I checked black. This time I so happened to have my hair straightened instead of the curly afro I usually rock. When the worker came to enter my data on the computer, he would not stop looking at me after looking at my answer.

"I see you put black, was that a mistake?" he said.

"No, I am black; I'm Haitian." I responded affirmatively.

"Well I can't put that," he stated. This moment had a really big impact on me. It was as if he had the power to confuse my identity, as if he knew more about me than I knew about myself. Then I gathered my thoughts and said:

"Well you can't put white, that surely is not what I am." There was a brief pause and all he said was "okay." As I glanced at the computer, I saw him type "unknown." He did not want to hear what I had to say. He was determined not to check black. Since when did race equal skin color? If there was a box that said Haitian I surely would check it because that's the one that fits me best but there isn't. If they asked me for my skin color, then maybe I would be able to consider checking white but since I am not Caucasian, I just cannot allow myself to do that. There should be more categories if this question needs to be asked. My race seems to be pretty rhetorical to me; it varies by audiences although my story never changes. As the rhetorician of my life, it's up to me to decide if I want to adapt to different audiences or just connect with the audiences that accept me for who I am. Virtues vary by audiences but it seems like people are more focused on vices.

When it comes to applying for colleges and jobs, the check box will always be there but it is not always mandatory to check it. It may determine how you will be identified or placed but it should never change your identity.

Never let others define you. You have spent years building your identity and one person should not have the power to change that. Your confidence should be enough and if people cannot accept you, for who you are, then just let them be. You know who you are better than anyone one else in the world and you should never forget that.


(Montreal Gazette) - By Sue Montgomery

Montreal resident Carmélite Massenat took advantage of the confusion and outpouring of goodwill following Haiti's devastating earthquake to smuggle 1.5 kilograms of cocaine into Canada aboard a humanitarian flight.

For her third drug-related conviction, Massenat, 54, was sentenced Monday to seven years in prison.

Once time served - which counts as double - is deducted, she has 35 months remaining in her sentence.

Quebec Court Judge Claude Parent said it was the first time he'd seen someone convicted three times for the same crime and warned Massenat that if she appeared in court again, she would be serving a much longer sentence.

Massenat travelled to the Dominican Republic on Feb., 7, 2010, a month after an earthquake killed about 250,000 people in neighbouring Haiti.

Because she had Canadian citizenship, she qualified for a seat on one of the free flights Ottawa offered to ferry those stranded in the crippled country between Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince, and Montreal.

When she arrived at Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport in Dorval with a 17-year-old girl, customs officials discovered Massenat had drugs taped to her lower back.

She said she had been paid $5,000 to bring the cocaine to Canada.

Massenat's lawyer, Annie Laflamme, said her client has six children of her own, plus had sponsored her husband and his five children to come to Canada. They all lived in one apartment on welfare.

Massenat was driven to smuggle the cocaine to try to pay off $75,000 in debt she'd accumulated, Laflamme said.

"Obviously, she didn't choose the best way to do that," she said, as her client sat silently in the prisoner's box.

In 2001, Massenat was sentenced in Montreal to three years in prison for smuggling 1.5 kilograms of cocaine into Canada. In 2006, she received a two-year sentence in France for smuggling about 10 kilos of cocaine into that country.

In 1998, she received two years probation in Montreal for providing false information for a passport. The seven-year sentence handed down Monday was suggested by the Crown and defence, but Parent said it was at the lower limit of what was reasonable.

"It could be 10 years," he noted.


(AFP) –

PORT-AU-PRINCE — Haitian authorities launched an investigation Monday against former president Jean Bertrand Aristide for alleged drug trafficking and corruption, a lawyer close to the ex-president told AFP.

Aristide also faces charges of bribery and malfeasance, attorney Newton Saint-Juste said.

The Aristide Foundation for Democracy and former officials from his administration, including the ex-head of the National Police, are also named in the case, Saint-Juste said.

Haitian Justice Minister Michel Brunache had no immediate comment on the case.

Aristide, a former Roman Catholic priest who was Haiti's first democratically-elected leader, was a champion of Haiti's poor and reviled by the Caribbean nation's elite.

Aristide was president from 1991 to 2004, eventually leaving the country aboard a US Air Force plane into exile in South Africa amid political turmoil.

Now 58, Aristide returned to Haiti in March 2011 and has maintained a low profile.

Aristide returned just weeks after former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier returned to Haiti.

In January, investigating judge Jean Carves recommended that Duvalier face trial for embezzlement. The judge however said that he should not face charges for the time being for allegations of crimes against humanity despite a number of complaints filed against him.


(Haiti Libre) -

A record of an initiation of investigation, containing several serious charges against former President Aristide, the Aristide Foundation for Democracy, and former officials of his government, was filed by the Commissioner of the Government to the cabinet of an investigating judge in order to open an investigation, and take necessary action. This record would have, according to several sources, have been introduced by the Haitian government (the Central Unit of Financial Intelligence (UCREF))

"...We are aware that since Friday, a record has been officially handed over to the cabinet of instruction and that it is in the hands of Judge Mimose Janvier..." declared Mr. Newton Saint-Juste, one of the lawyers of former President Aristide. Adding "[...] there are two folders; there is a folder for Mr. Aristide and the other is for the Foundation. In the folder for President Aristide, we are talking about drug trafficking, subtraction of public funds, extortion, and malfeasance [...] When we look at the first elements, we say quickly that this is a folder for the gallery, which will waste the time of justice, because it is clear that when you want to pursue an official for subtraction or misappropriation of public funds, there must be a judgment from the Courts of Auditors and Administrative Disputes. In this folder that judgment does not exist [...] It's a folder that has been done so precipitated [...] it's a political nuisance [...] For about 2 to 3 weeks we have learned that pressure is being made at the level of the UCREF to have a record quickly, to send it to the prosecutor's office, and return it to to the cabinet of instruction. We were aware of all that [...] We are waiting to see what action the judge will pose, we will develop our strategy. We must say that we are not alone on the issue, there are Mr. Camille Leblanc, Mr. Mario Joseph ... [...]" adding, "no individual has filed a complaint against Mr. Aristide so far ..."

Without denying the existence of this record against the former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the Ministry of Justice, Mr. Pierre Michel Brunache categorically denied Monday the rumors that circulated yesterday Monday, in some Haitian media, saying that two warrants had been issued against the former President.

Official denial of the Minister of Justice :
"The Ministry of Justice and Public Security would like to make a formal denial to the rumors that two warrants were issued against the former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. While affirming his respect for the independence of the judiciary and the equality of all before the law, the Ministry invites the population in general and the press in particular to not rely on fanciful rumors, likely to harm the process of establishing the rule of law, and the policy of national reconciliation advocated by the President of the Republic, His Excellency Joseph Michel Martelly".

Mer. Michel Pierre Brunache
Minister of Justice and Public Security

A reminder for our readers, that following a complaint (filed), the judge in charge of the investigation of the record, opens an investigation after which he decides, with the facts and evidence, if there is a matter(s) to prosecute or not, ... the person(s) referred to in the complaint.


(Miami Herald) - By Jacqueline Charles

Haiti Police Chief says progress is being made in getting rid of bad cops.

The head of the Haitian National Police says the agency is working diligently to root out bad cops, including senior officers.

Police Chief Mario Andresol’s comments come on the heels of recent criticism by Michel Forst, the United Nation’s independent expert on human rights, who criticized authorities after visiting Haiti this month for not moving quickly to fire 200 police officers — senior officers among them — who failed background checks. The inaction, Forst said, hampered efforts to reform and strengthen the HNP, which is still about half the size some say Haiti needs.

Since his appointment in June 2008, Forst has met with three different Haitian prime ministers, asking to implement the recommendations of the vetting process. Those decisions involve activating the Superior Council of the National Police (CSPN), which must decide, after a fair trial, whether to dismiss officers who don’t comply with police standards.

Andresol says he has begun to cleanup the ranks of the police, but note that HNP guidelines prevent officers from being terminated without cause.

“Removal from [police] service needs to be done on administrative grounds,” Andresol said. “There has been no nepotism dealing with the senior officers who failed vetting. I have used the administrative options to remove unsuitable senior officers.”

Still, Andresol acknowledge that if terminations are slow, the problem has to do with Haiti’s procedures that guide the process. A 1997 decision that allows for termination on the basis of “excessive wealth” has yet to be tested and the council has yet to respond to requests for guidance.

Andresol said the number of bad cops who failed background checks is 137, according to a list provided by the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Haiti. About 80 remain active, and they will have a chance to plead their case before a joint U.N. and police commission, he said.

Police personnel records, he said, show that between 2005 and 2009, some 993 officers have been administratively terminated.

“We are working,” he added


(Haiti Libre) -

President Michel Martelly, held yesterday Monday, February 27, at the National Palace, an important meeting to discuss with Government officials, actions to be taken following the fire which occurred in the Tabarre public market on the night of February 24 to 25.

Those who took part in this working meeting: Mr. Thierry Mayard Paul, Minister of the Interior, Local Authorities and National Defense, Mr. André Lemercier Georges, Minister of Economy and Finance, Mr. Wilson Laleau, Minister of Trade and Industry, Ms. Yanick Mézile, Minister for Women's Affairs and Women's Rights, Mr. Frantz Théodate, Mayor of Tabarre, Charles Castel, Governor of the BRH, Mr. Robert Pardo Vice President of the BNC, Mr. Hervé Denis, President of CCIH and several advisors of the Presidency.

Following this meeting, the following decisions were taken :

The Government is considering, in conjunction with the City of Tabarre, ways and means to alleviate the most vulnerable victims, and rebuild the market.

The Bank of the Republic of Haiti (BRH) will hold a meeting tomorrow with microfinance institutions to encourage them to advance funds to their debtors who were affected.

The Government will take all necessary steps to prosecute and punish the perpetrators of the fire.

In the aftermath of this tragedy, Mario Beauvoir, the Government Commissioner of Croix des Bouquets stated "...last night at about eleven o'clock, there were explosions, gunshots were fired, and a mess ensued. The fire was started in four central points, and then in the center of the market...

Today [Saturday], I want to make clear to everyone, that there is a criminal hand that is behind this fire and the justice will take action against these malefactors, these criminals, with all the rigor that the law allows... [...] We, at the prosecution level, have already arrested 4 security agents, as well as the Director and the responsible for the security of the market [...] we will hear the mayors, we will invite them today, so that they can come and tell what they know about the market that burned [...]"



The Haitian government is planning a response to a fire that destroyed the public market in Tabarre, according to the National Palace.

The government has decided to work with the City of Tabarre to help the most vulnerable victims and rebuild the market.

On Monday, President Martelly held a meeting with government officials including Interior Minister Thierry Mayard Paul, Finance Minister Andre Georges Lemercier and Trade Minister Yanick Mezile.

The fire began at the market on the night of Feb. 24.

On Wednesday, the Banque de la République d’Haiti will hold discussions with microfinance institutions to encourage them to advance funds to those debtors affected by the market’s destruction.

President Martelly said the government would take “all necessary steps” to prosecute and punish the perpetrators of the fire.


(CNN) - By Ross Velton

Pedernales, Dominican Republic - "I walked for three days through the jungle to get here."

And what did Masselot Jean find when his hard trek from the poverty of Haiti to the relative riches of the Dominican Republic was over?

"I came to the Dominican Republic for a better life, but all I found was the same misery."

On a good day, he might get a dollar or two richer working on a farm from dawn to dusk. But mostly, Jean found no work. His Dominican dream had come to nothing.

This is a common story among the thousands of Haitians who poured across the border after the earthquake in January 2010. They came to Haiti's more prosperous neighbor for jobs, new homes and new lives. But none of this happened. And now, thousands want to go back to Haiti to continue with their old lives, which for many were better lives.

An Assisted Voluntary Return program run by the International Organization for Migration is giving these Haitians the chance to go home. So far, about 2,000 people have been returned to Haiti. But places are limited, and the program is overwhelmed with people.

There are not enough convoys like this one to carry the thousands of Haitians who want to leave the Dominican Republic. "In specific areas of the Dominican Republic, for every person that we're going to register for a return, there's at least two or three other people interested," says IOM's head of operations in the Dominican Republic, Jean-Philippe Antolin.

In the most recent convoy bound for Haiti, five truckloads set off from the Dominican border town of Pedernales. Jean was in one of them.

"I'm going back for a better life, but I don't know what I'll find."

Although IOM's program has been expanded to include other types of migrants, it was initially set up for people displaced by the earthquake who now want to go back to Haiti.

"They came to the Dominican Republic for something good -- for work and for money," says Roberto Francois, a Haitian working for IOM who has listened to many of the returnees' stories, including that of Natacha Polissaint.

Her house crumbled in the earthquake. When she arrived in the Dominican Republic, she found a man who was willing to support her in return for a certain amount of intimacy. They became a couple of convenience.

Natacha Polissaint and her children will live with family when they get back to Haiti because her house fell in the earthquake. Polissaint said he got her pregnant and then disappeared. She was left in a strange land with a new baby and no money. Applying for IOM's program was the obvious choice, although she knows things will not be easy.

"I don't have a house," she says. "I'll stay with family when I arrive."

Polissaint's case illustrates one of the many challenges of resuming life in Haiti. The AVR program will take people home, but it cannot give people a home.

Instead of a new house, returnees get $50 in "pocket money" and a further $200 to set up a small business.

"A lot of people are selling clothing, shoes, unprepared food like rice and beans. ... Some people are raising goats and chickens. I've seen some businesses of people who prepare alcohol and sell alcohol," says IOM's Zoë Stopak-Behr.

But whatever they decide to do, the opportunity to start again means more than just money. It is a chance at redemption.

Francois explains why. "It's something that's implanted in the immigrant: They leave their country for something good, and it's shameful to return home with empty pockets."

The difficult task of filling these pockets will now begin.


(NBC 6) - By Hank Tester

The earthquake-ravaged nation now has been rocked with a political crisis

Is there hope for Haiti, the earthquake-ravaged nation that has been rocked with a political crisis now that its prime minister has resigned after only four months on the job?

Florida International University professor Dr. Eduardo Gamarra says there is – but the key is “getting somebody who can work with Parliament.”

Prime Minister Garry Conille stepped down Friday after being at odds with President Michel Martelly. Conille took his marching orders from Parliament, which is also at odds with Martelly. The legislative body rejected the president’s first two nominees for the prime minister’s post.

Gamarra, who is a consultant to governments and NGOs in the Caribbean, knows Haiti well and just returned from a trip there.

He says Haiti’s short-term prospects “will depend on the ability of the old political class which controls Parliament and this new emerging political class that controls the executive branch to work together.”

In other words, can the rookie politician, former singer and entertainer Martelly – whose nickname is “Sweet Micky” – work it out with Haiti’s old-time politicians?

Gamarra says the two strongest candidates to become the next prime minister are Laurent Lamothe, the minister of foreign affairs, and Thierry Mayard-Paul, the minister of the interior. Both have supporters in Parliament.

Martelly will work quickly, as international contributors to Haiti’s recovery are antsy with leadership on the restoration of the nation.

“And in a parliamentary system, of course, without a prime minister the system doesn’t work,” Gamarra says.


(Haiti Libre) -

The delegation of 6 deputies, from the Committee on Budgetary Control of the European Parliament, ended last Friday its 72-hour mission to Haiti. This visit came one month after the adoption by Parliament of a critical report on the management of humanitarian assistance of the European Union, prepared by the Austrian deputy Martin Ehrenhauser, a member of the delegation.

Led by the German deputy member of the European People's Party (EPP) Ingeborg Grässle, the delegation met with politicians, managers of funds, as well as representatives of NGOs, international financial institutions and the United Nations.

Government transparency, efficiency, accountability, citizen involvement in decision making, land reform and the fight against corruption, were the focus of discussions with elected Haitians, in search of pledges and promises of change that would encourage sustainable cooperation with the European Union.

At the end of its mission, the delegation noted, weaknesses in terms of transparency, accountability, efficiency and effectiveness in the management of EU funds by the United Nations. The six deputies do not find satisfactory the use of European aid in Haiti. According to them, "the situation is very, very serious [...] It is not a question of spending money like that [...] It is an obligation to do more". We must know where the money spent goes as part of the humanitarian aid. To their credit, the Haitian parliamentarians, who met with the delegation, explained to the European deputies that they had no means of control over the planning, spending and evaluation of results, regarding the management of humanitarian aid to Haiti.

Ingeborg Grässle, lamented the situation in Haiti, stressing that it is unacceptable to see some of the people on the roadside in poverty, and that it is essential to get the country out of the mentality of humanitarian aid.

Furthermore, it was stressed the need to find an urgent solution to the political crisis, and that the Haitian Government takes the leadership, to define an overall vision.

According to the statement of the delegation, the findings of their report will be included in the annual discharge report on expenditures of the European Commission and in the discharge of the European Development Fund (EDF).


(Haiti Libre) -

As part of the process for the designation of a new Prime Minister, President Martelly met unofficially Simon Dieuseul Desras, the President of the Senate, and Levaillant Louis Jeune, President of the Lower House. During this informal meeting, the President mentioned 3 names: Laurent Lamothe, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Thierry Mayard-Paul, the Minister of the Interior, and Anne Valérie Timothée Milfort, member of the Cabinet of the Head of State, and member of the Interim Commission for the Reconstruction of Haiti (IHRC).

It is likely that this approach of the Head of State with the Presidents of the two chambers, aims to get a feeback to establish the profile acceptable for the Parliamentarians, of the next Prime Minister-designate.

Following the meeting, Simon Dieuseul Desras wished to clarify in a statement "...I can not say that there is an official confirmation; we can only say, there have been informal (unofficial) consultations. The official consultations are when the President calls the two Presidents of Chambers, according to the stipulations of the Constitution, and he communicates to us the names of the people he has chosen.

For the moment, these are preliminary consultations. The President has expressed his intention from a list of people [...] at that time, our mission as President of the Chamber is to go in conference .... in the Assembly of the Senators and of the Chamber of deputies, to inform the Assembly of the intentions of the President and, following the trend, perhaps the feedback will enable the President to guide his final choice.

Officially we can not say that the President held consultations; unofficially, yes [...] We talked about three names: the Minister of Foreign Affairs Laurent Lamothe, the Interior Minister Mr. Thierry Mayard Paul, and Ms. Anne-Valérie Milfort [...] the President Martelly has not yet decided on a name [...]"

However, according to some sources, Laurent Lamothe did not show great interest in the position of Prime Minister...

Monday, February 27, 2012

photos - jeff's team - part 6

The guys got the tin roof off in one piece and were able to lay it down on the ground between the coconut palms.

Next step was to remove the steel support and transfer them.

The guys took turns smashing the concrete to get at the bolts anchoring the steel support columns to the cement. This is Vernaldino (T-Ben)

Oliver helped out to.

Johnny is trying his method of removing the rusty bolts.

photos - jeff's team - part 7

Amos was supervising :)

Jeff rotated the supports 90 degrees and we now have a double sized outside kitchen frame.!

Jeff got busy anchoring the supports back into place.

Sony and William got busy mixing cement for the support posts.

Sony was a big help. He did multi-tasking and did some sawing as well :)

photos - jeff's team - part 8

It didn't take long to cement the new support arrangement into place.

The welders on the street finished off the welding of the supports for the school shelter.

And while the guys were waiting for the steel supports from the welders they kept busy using extra cement to fix our drainage channel that goes across the yard to the street.

The finished support columns are being brought in by the welders.

And carried over to the side of the house where the new school shelter would be constructed.

photos - jeff's team - part 9

Jeff and Oliver adjusted the post holes.

The welders worked away at welding the steel supports together.

Sony was watching to make sure the angles were correct for the support frame.

Once the supports were in place, Jeff got to work framing the kitchen roof.

At this point in time 2 projects were going on at the same time! The welders were placing the steel supports in place and Jeff and some of the guys were putting up the wooden frame for the kitchen roof:)

photos - jeff's team - part 10

Jeff thought that this Haitian welding machine was ingenious. Simple electrical principles were applied. It sure looks a lot different than foreign welding machines! The Haitian welding machine works great. They should patent it!

It didn't take long to weld everything into place.

Amos supervised the welders, and they didn't even knock him off the ladder :)

Jeff was working quickly at putting the roof frame together.

It was neat to see everything going together quickly.

photos - jeff's team - part 11

Oliver had fun helping his dad out with the framing.

With the larger kitchen there will be more room for our cooks to prepare 125 plates of food for lunch!

The last of the 2x4's were nailed and Jeff put away the ladder.

The welders were adjusting the poles to the correct height.

It took a bit of manoeuvering to get it just perfect.


(Peoria Journal Star) - By John Carroll

The following post is a description of two interviews I had today with young ladies that live in Cite Soleil in Port-au-Prince. My main questions for them revolved around cholera.

But first of all, I want to give a very brief summary of where I think the public water comes from in Soleil. These few sentences will be boring, but they are important. Water engineers and smart people out there, please help me if this is incorrect in any way, and I will correct my mistakes. More than ever in Soleil, access to good water can mean the difference between life and death.

The water that is pumped to Soleil is from a water reservoir in La Plaine, which comes from the water table (anba woch), and this water is pumped underground by pipes to the large imposing water tower sitting at the entrance to Soleil, off Route National 1.

Two white PVC pipes run along the northern side of the water tower. One carries water up and the other carries water down to pipes below the ground, and through these pipes water is pumped to “basins” spread all over Soleil. A ‘basin” is a series of pipes and spigots that people have access to in the slum. People come to these basins and fill up white buckets of water, put them on their head, and walk back to their shack. It is up to them to treat their own water with Clorox or aquatabs because it is my understanding that the water from La Plaine has not been treated.

Another important supply of water to Soleil are water trucks, that transport water in to the slum. I don’t know enough to say much about this water’s origin, its purity, or its potability. But these points would not be hard to answer.

The importance of this "chain of flow" of water is to figure out the best places to test and treat the water for cholera.


This is Saturday, February 25, 2012, and there is no pediatric clinic today in Soleil. So my goal was to go to the Boston neighborhood in Soleil, to check out information regarding cholera. I wanted to find out if the people in Boston have any means to fight the oncoming fourth wave of cholera when the rainy season starts again very soon in April.

I met Natalie, the secretary who works in the pediatric clinic in the back of Soleil where I work during the week. Natalie is a great gal and lives in Soleil at Soleil 19, just several blocks from the clinic. She and I were going to walk the mile through the slum to Boston but she had some news for me.

Natalie calmly informed me that there was “a war” going on in the streets between the gangs of Boston and Beleko. These are two large neighborhoods that abut each other in the northwest part of the slum. Natalie said that one of the gang leaders in Beleko was shot and killed two days ago and things were still dangerous in the streets.

She advised me to stay in the back part of Soleil where we were and I could talk to her neighbors about cholera. That seemed like fine advice to me.

So we walked through the little pathways of Soleil to Natalie’s mother’s one room shack and sat down inside the room. It was very clean and not too hot.

Natalie said in a hushed voice that we were sitting right next door to the Soleil gang chief’s shack. I asked her about him and she said he was benevolent to the people around this neighborhood and she referred to him as "Patwon". She also said the people in Soleil are not as mean as the warring people in Boston and Beleko.

I told her I wanted the Soleil people’s perspective on cholera. I asked Natalie to talk to some people close by that had suffered from cholera or had family members suffer from cholera. She concurred and said “no problem”. Natalie said it would not be hard to find people very familiar with cholera.

She stepped outside of her mother’s place and called out the name “Venise”. A few seconds later a young lady walked in carrying her three-month old baby and sat down in a white plastic lawn chair in front of me.

Venise did not know her own age but she states that when she was 19 years old her mother threw her out of the house in Jeremie and somehow she ended up in Soleil. (Jeremie is a city about 10 hours by public transportation from Port-au-Prince.) She does not know how many years she has been in Soleil. She does not have an electoral card or an identity card, and her birth certificate is lost somewhere in Jeremie. Venise appeared to be about thirty years old.

Venise told me that she had never been to school and does not know how to read and write. She has no job and depends on her neighborhood (lakou) in Soleil to support her. Her neighbors give her and her children some food when they have extra. Typical food for Venise and her children are rice, pureed beans, ground corn, and some meat sauce. If the neighbors have no extra food that day, Venise and her children don’t eat.

She lives in a one room shack near Natalie’s mother and her neighbors pay her 550 Haitian dollars (about 70 dollars US) rent each six months to her landlord.

Venise has five children ages 14, 8, 4, 2 and the happy three-month old she was holding. The two oldest children are from one man and the three youngest from second man. She reports the same as most Haitian women in this social strata about her childrens’ fathers: “Yo pa occupe nou...” which means that the men do nothing for her or her kids.

Venise, with the help of her lakou, had her two oldest children in schools in Soleil. But their father took them with him and moved them into a tent city in Fort National. However, the father’s girlfriend was beating the two kids so severely that a neighbor in another tent took them in and is letting them sleep and eat, whatever she can find for them. Neither of the two kids are in school now.

Venise no longer sees the older kids in Fort National and she has the three youngest children with her in Soleil.

Venise told me that one day in November, 2011 when she was 9 months pregnant with the baby she is holding today, she abruptly started having diarrhea and began to vomit. And so did her eight year old daughter Mimi who still lived with her. They both went to St. Catherine’s Hospital Cholera Treatment Center (CTC), which is just a couple of blocks away, and was run by Doctors Without Borders-Belgium.

Venise said she went into shock quickly and required 23 liters of IV fluid over several days. Mimi required only a couple of IV liters to feel better. They both survived because the CTC was so close and they went quickly. And the CTC was well stocked with supplies and had people who knew what they were doing. Venise delivered the three-month old baby girl a couple of weeks later.

Doctor Without Borders-Belgium left St. Catherine’s in December and the hospital is now run by MSPP (Public Health Department of Haiti). When Doctors Without Borders was in charge of St. Catherine’s, there was no charge. But now it costs five Haitian dollars (about 75 cents) for a dossier to be made and for a consult with a doctor. If one is admitted to the hospital, MSPP charges one hundred Haitian dollars (12 US dollars) for the use of the bed no matter how long the patient’s stay is in the hospital.

I asked Venise where she gets her water now. She gets her water from some public pipes here in the neighborhood (basin) which comes from the big water tower that sits in the entry way to Cite Soleil. One bucket of water costs one gourde (a few pennies).

She said that she did not treat her water with Clorox or Aquatabs before she got cholera and she doesn’t treat the water now either because she has no money. So she and her kids are drinking this water which is not really clean.

I asked Venise if she is afraid of cholera. She said she is afraid and that “it is coming back.” When I asked her how she knows cholera is coming back, she said “everyone says it is”.

I asked Venise if she was happy with her life in Soleil. She said “Yes, because I have no other place to go.”


The second person I talked to was a polite young lady named Manushka. She said she is 24 years old.

Manushka was born and raised in Soleil and lives in the same neighborhood near Soleil 19 near Natalie and Venise. She has no children but she is the oldest of seven and she feels responsible for her six younger brothers and sisters.

Manushka told me that her mother died in 2000 and stated that her mom “was sick all the time”. Her father buried her mother in Drouillard Cemetery in the slum. This funeral and burial cost her father quite a bit so Manushka could not continue in school and she never went back to school. She has four years of education and can write her name and do simple math.

She told me that 13 months ago her father died from cholera. When I asked her what year that would have been, she did not know.

Manushka said that her father did manual labor on Kafou Aeropo (Airport Corner) and drank water while he was at work. He became sick on a Monday and was taken directly to Doctors Without Borders-Tabarre and died on Wednesday. They did not allow visitors in the cholera tent and so she was unable to see her father until after he died. He is buried in the Drouillard Cemetery too.

Manushka seems very bright.

I asked her if she knows why Haiti has cholera. She said no and then turned the question around on me and asked me if I knew why.

I told her that it was inadvertently introduced here by the MINUSTAH soldiers in central Haiti in 2010.

She just slightly smiled and said nothing.

I asked her if she ever heard this explanation and she said no. I asked her if MINUSTAH was doing a good job in Soleil and she said no. She said they are not doing much good work and that they abuse people by hitting innocent people in Soleil. I asked her if MINUSTAH still shoots in Soleil, and Manushka said no.

When I asked her if the Haitian National Police (HNP) abuse people she said yes. She said they tear up ID cards and hit people in Soleil. However, she said that the HNP needs to be supported over MINUSTAH because the “Haitian police are us...they are from here.”

I asked Manushka if she went to church. She said no. When I asked her what religion she is, she said that she has no religion. I asked her if she was mambo (worship the devil) and she still replied no. She said that she doesn’t believe in God...that she is an atheist.

I asked Manushka if she was happy with her life here in Soleil. She said no because of all the “gang fighting and people running”.

When I asked Manushka where she gets her water, she said it is from the same pipes (basin) where Vanesse gets her water. But Manushka treats her water with Clorox.

When I asked her what Soleil needs, she replied clean water, clean streets, and education for young people. She said that she would like to go to a professional school (I think she meant vocational) and that if she learned something and got a job that would be good for her and good for Haiti too. She would like to become a cosmetologist.

I asked Manushka if she became sick where she would go for medical care. She stated that she has nowhere to go since MSPP took over St. Catherines and charge 25 gourdes for a dossier. And she said that she has no money for any medication that would be prescribed anyway.

When I asked Manushka if the Haitian government was going to do anything to help Soleil, she said no. She said that the Haitian government doesn’t respect the young people of Soleil or think that they have any importance, so they are ignored.

She said the only help Soleil gets is from foreigners coming with trucks of water and Clorox. She viewed this as the only good thing being done for the people of Soleil.


After talking with these two young ladies, Natalie and I left her mother’s room and walked back through Soleil towards the pediatric clinic. I stopped at a basin where women and children were collecting water coming from the pipes. I asked the women if they put Clorox in the water and they said yes and they asked me to buy them more Clorox.


So here are my questions and comments about the water and cholera in Soleil:

Could the water be tested coming from La Plaine to see if it is cholera free? Can it be tested as it comes out of the spigots at the local basins in Soleil just before it flows into the white buckets?

Can there be a constant supply of Clorox and aquatabs for the hundreds of thousands of people who live here?

Can thousands of liters of Ringer’s Lactate (and IV tubing and setups) be brought to St. Catherine’s NOW so it is ready in one month for the wave of cholera that is to hit.

Can nurses be hired by MSPP for St. Catherine’s CTC NOW so they are ready to begin work. And can cholera community health educators start circulating through Soleil NOW educating people about what is most likely coming back in a few weeks.

Doctors Without Borders and other NGO’s did all they could and saved many lives in Soleil with their CTC. But they are gone from Soleil now and St. Catherine’s Hospital and the CTC are definitely not ready right now for a big hit of cholera patients.

It is time for other agencies to kick in. The Haitian Prime Minister just resigned the other day and there is much political fighting high up in the Haitian government. This instability could easily disrupt the flow of cholera materials that is needed to save lives in Soleil.

The two girls I interviewed are typical of the people of Soleil. They help each other as much as possible under almost impossible circumstances. They want to live as much as we do. We have 16 months of experience with cholera now in Haiti and need to learn from our mistakes. Stopping cholera deaths in Soleil is completely possible. We just have to have the will.


(Washington Post) - By AP

PORT-AU-PRINCE — A Haiti aid group warns on the eve of the rainy season that the Caribbean nation will likely see a surge in cholera cases.

Paul Farmer of the Boston-based group Partners in Health writes in an email Friday that Haiti could see a spike like the one that occurred last year.

The number of cholera cases nearly tripled from almost 19,000 last April to more than 50,000 two months later.

Partners in Health will launch a vaccination campaign in the coming weeks to stem the spread of the waterborne disease.

Haiti has the highest cholera infection rate in the world. Health officials say more than 7,000 people have died and another 522,000 have fallen ill since the disease surfaced in Haiti months after the January 2010 earthquake.


(Haiti Libre) -

The Ophthalmology unit, "Operation Miracle", which was previously stationed in Gonaives, was moved by helicopter to Jérémie to the Saint-Antoine Hospital, in the department of Grand Anse [Haiti's southwest ], to serve a predominantly rural population of 425,000 inhabitants.

The surgical unit also has a clinical laboratory, and optometry instruments. The operating room was established by Cuban specialists in under four hours, and will be in service next Monday.

Dr. Jorge Casas, Head of the Department of Grand'Anse for the Cuban medical brigade, stressed the importance for low-income people to obtain free eye care. "We stay for three months in each department and try to assist and cover all the needs of people who come to the eye clinic, as well as cases in remote areas, with mobile clinics conducted on the weekend."

During this period, the team will provide assistance in the region where there are many patients, and an abundance of glaucoma and corneal foreign bodies. The eye surgeons, believe they will do an average of 75 surgeries per week of cataract and pterygium, the diseases most commonly encountered.


(Haiti Libre) -

President Martelly will inaugurate today, Monday 27 February 2012, the project of 400 houses in Zoranje, initiated on June 12, 2011 by the Head of State, who had declared at the ceremony of the laying of the first stone; "It is a day of hope for the Haitian people, hope to rebuild Haiti [...] this project is the signal of our determination to build new sustainable communities [...] the signal that shows that the country will regain its ability to put people back to work, and that local businesses will be able to become more involved in reconstruction."

Built in Zoranje, on a land of 6.8 hectares these sustainable housing units, meet the urban and seismic standards, and aims, according to the President "to improve the quality of life for low-income families, affected by the earthquake of January 12."

This project, totaling 30 million dollars funded by the Interamerican Development Bank (IDB), is part of a program in 3 phases, to build a total of 2,000 units in the departments of the West, North East and South. The project was coordinated by the Economic and Social Assistance Fund (FAES) [Government of Haiti], supported by a steering committee comprising several stakeholders in health, education, the Ministry of Planning, and institutions like DINEPA.

It has been necessary to wait a little more than the 100 days originally planned for this project, as it will be surely emphasized by critical observers, but what matters most to the beneficiaries is that the promise was kept.


(PRNewswire) - Haiti Ministry of the Interior

Attends Primary Rural Clinic Inauguration, which Serves 60% Haitian Patients; Discusses Potential Collaboration for Community Programs in Tourism Destinations

PUNTA CANA, Dominican Republic - Haiti's Minister of the Interior and Chief of Staff, Thierry Mayard-Paul, representing Haiti's President Michel Martelly, attended the inauguration of the Rural Clinic of Veron in Punta Cana, the only primary care facility serving the local community, where 60 percent of its patients are Haitians. Dominican businessman Frank Rainieri, president of the Punta Cana Group and whose PUNTACANA Foundation led to the reconstruction of the clinic, a representative from the Dominican Ministry of Health, as well as the clinic's medical director, were on hand at the inauguration.

"The Veron clinic is an excellent example of social infrastructure projects that make decentralization a reality," said Mayard-Paul. "These are the types of projects that we need to promote in Haiti's heartland so that people can stay in their hometowns, have access to primary social services, and local economies can thrive."

The populations of Veron and the surrounding communities have grown dramatically in recent years as the region has become one of the Caribbean's top tourist destinations. Today Punta Cana welcomes five times as many visitors as just five years ago. While the creation of jobs and economic opportunity are positives, the pace of growth has far outstripped the capacity of the existing medical and educational facilities. "The clinic is just one element of a holistic program, which seeks to improve the community and the quality of life of all its residents and the surrounding areas," said Rainieri. "The initiative includes educational, environmental and health programs, and integrates the entire population so we can continue to provide excellent service both to our tourists who feed our families, as well as to our people who take care of them."

The Rural Clinic of Veron is financed and managed by a private-public partnership, which includes the PUNTACANA Foundation; Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Blacksburg, Virginia; the Dominican Ministry of Public Health and Veron's Neighborhood Association. Mayard-Paul highlighted that these are the type of innovative financing and operation programs that the Haitian government, through the Ministry of the Interior, seeks to put in place, "because they integrate all the actors working toward a common goal, shared responsibility and benefits for everyone."

Mayard-Paul and Rainieri, who is also a member of Haiti's Presidential Advisory Council on Economic Growth and Investment, also discussed potential cooperation in Haiti for further decentralization, including community and eco-friendly programs in tourism destinations.