We tend to focus on what is wrong with relief and aid, and in some cases it is justified. But it is time we recognize the people who are dedicating their lives, long after the world has moved on, to chipping away at the work that remains to be done in Haiti.
We went to Haiti as a family so that our boys do service with the Worldwide Orphans Foundation (WWO) programs. The day of the big WWO soccer tournament was filled with excitement and ceremony, but there were quieter moments, too.
While most young people celebrating their 30th birthday by throwing a fabulous fete, Fabrice Armand has committed himself to an unselfish purpose. Fabrice will use his March 3rd celebration for his 2nd Annual Haiti Cherie: Pride. Love. Commitment fundraiser.
Haiti's challenges are enormous and there are no easy answers. However, a two-pronged strategy --- registration and monitoring of NGOs and a governmental and donor focus on "core governance" -- may be a good start.
I come from an island in the Caribbean called Haiti. It suffered a devastating earthquake on January 12, 2010. It changed my life forever. It opened my eyes to what I left behind. It made me aware of the opportunities, that this country, America, has afforded me.
I returned to Haiti and was astonished by the progress that I saw. There remains a monumental amount of work to do but it is important to understand that the contrast between now and three months after the earthquake is night and day.
When you dash in and out of people's lives, whatever assistance you offer is always limited, and sometimes entirely hamstrung, by the complexity of a new and separate reality. If I am grasping nothing else, it's that Haiti's reality is very complex.
We found a group of Haitians rebuilding their country in a sustainable, scalable model through decentralization. Unfortunately, foreign aid tends to overlook this in favour of short-term, surface relief.
A year later, the catastrophe continues -- not the acute, horrific, world stopping horror, but the slow, embedded and smoldering chronic illness of a nation made dysfunctional by the world's mistakes and crimes.