Saturday, December 19, 2009

Concrete Improvements: Hope for Haiti

America is a wonderful place to live. I'm, just saying: oh, be thankful, folks. We have a lovely, clean, comfortable, prosperous place to live.
Now, I spend a lot of words in this blog talking about how rough it is in Haiti; it does astound me how close a neighboring country has such an enormous contrast to us; and I think Americans need to know (and care) about their neighbors.. And Haiti has had a couple centuries without any stable or beneficial government or investment in infrastructure. That makes that place so poor that it's really still in the 19th century.

But this blog entry is about hope for Haiti. I was there in March 09, and in December 09. There have been quite a few international initiatives implemented to help Haiti, and they are noticeable even over 9 months. The road to Hinche is almost done. In past years, our group only flew, never drove, from Port au Prince to Hinche, due to the crazy bad roads--- it took 4-6 hours, and cars break down,etc. Now, the road is graded, fairly even gravel, with drainage culverts in place, and paving will come soon. Our friend and translator Berry says that he can get on a bus ( "tap-tap", actually a truck with people sitting in the cargo area) in Hinche at 6 am, and be at class in PaP at 9am. Roads are key. Commerce can happen with roads. A farmer with extra mangoes on his tree can sell them, if there are roads. No roads; they rot. Women in labor can get help from a midwife with roads. No roads, moms and babies die. It's a big deal. Road work in Haiti was everywhere.

My favorite symbol of new hope for Haiti was right out of the "Narnia" series of children's books-(The Lion,the Witch, and the Wardrobe...rememer the lampost?) It's in the middle of the photo on this post...While driving out in very remote rural Haiti, several times, we came over a rise, and I thought I was seeing things, as in a tiny village crossroads, I saw a solitary lamppost and street light, with a solar panel on top. When dark has fallen in those villages, people are sitting under those new lights, reading the newspaper. Sewing, studying. Carving. Talking. Hoping. Let's Hold them in the Light.

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