Susan's Musings

Just Thinking Out Loud

Haitan Hope

When I visited Haiti …

While the people of Haiti recognised the hardship within their country, they spoke of the place with great pride and persistently asked me if I like their country.  They consistently spoke of how they wanted to stay in their country and help its development. They also spoke about how the hardships they were faced with would force them to leave if the opportunity arose.

Typically when we talk of Haiti we tend to focus in on the poverty, the lack of development,  the failed Governments in a failing state from which numerous families in Countries such as America and Canada see the adoption of children as a way of helping. All the same while I stared in horror at the rubble on the streets, the cracked up buildings that were only half standing and the make shift cities of tents on the roadsides, the Haitains told me of the beauty of the countryside and the beautiful beaches.

I marvelled at the low level of formal education and the high level of up to 70 to 80% unemployment. Simultaneously I was fascinated by the craftsman with two years formal education who spoke Creole, learnt French at school and taught himself English and Spanish so that he could effectively engage with customers and not lose business. I was further fascinated  by the camp coordinator who in perfectly clear English explained to me how the camp was organised. Gave me clear statistics on the residents, outlined the issues in the camp and what they were doing to try and resolve them. Yet he felt the need to apologise to me for his English and asked me (that only really speaks the one language – English) if I spoke Spanish as his Spanish was better than his English.

I read with mixed feelings of the thousands of NGOs and charities operating across Haiti as it seemed that with the best of efforts all that was being done was like putting a tiny plaster on a gigantic gash.

The truth of the matter is that from my visit to Haiti I came to the realisation that the real solutions to the problems of Haiti would ultimately come from the coming together of the central stakeholders of Haiti with the support of everybody else who is interested in helping. By the central stakeholders I mean the Haitians at home and abroad together with the different people who have adopted Haiti as home who all have a joint understanding of Haitian language, culture, issues and the way of life.

However, they can only make a real change with the support of people like you and I.


Copyright 2010. This document is the specific intellectual property of Susan Popoola. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source. Opinions may be generated

12 Updates for Haiti

Having visited Haiti earlier this month I decided to mark the fourth month anniversary of the 12th January 2010 earthquake on the 12th May with 12 updates which I placed on twitter, Facebook and a number of other sites.  They are as below:

1.     Sadly devastation in Haiti is much worse than what television portrayed & the risks remain high. ref: Sean Penn:

2.     When the disaster occurred a man cried out “Do something so that people can have hope” There is still a lot of need for things to be done

3.     In addition to damage of the palace, most Government buildings in were severally damaged or completed destroyed displaying Govt depts.

4.     A significant number of people Haiti in live now tent camps – some real tents others made up & often not rainproof – it’s hurricane season

5.     A lot of people in Haiti whose homes were not badly damaged sleep in tents by their houses/in compounds for fear of further earthquakes

6.     Last Monday while in Haiti there was a 4.4 scale aftershock. The ground beneath my feet literally shook. This was not d 1st aftershock

7.     In Haiti there are still half collapsed buildings across the city with massive amounts of rubble in the streets

8.     Haiti a camp coordinator said- thank God we are still alive, thank u for coming it’s good to know people care –we r all brothers & sisters

9.     I was informed that prior to the earthquake the key needs of Haiti were Food & work. Now there is an additional need for Housing

10. Big concern is what happens when disaster relief ends in Haiti. Unlike other places, most pp in Haiti don’t have a “normal” life to resume

11. A key solution for Haiti lies in the hands of Haitians at home & in Diaspora to work with the support of the rest of the world

12. A lot of caring people are making a difference in Haiti, but it feels like a gigantic wound is being covered with a tiny plaster

I plan to provide 12th updates on the 12th of every month up until the 12th January 2011, the 1st year anniversary of the earthquake.

Please don’t forget Haiti!

Copyright 2010. This document is the specific intellectual property of Susan Popoola. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source. Opinions may be generated

About The Author

Susan Popoola

Susan is a Human Resources Capital Optimisation Specialist specialising in areas inclusive of Talent Management with additional interest in a number of other areas inclusive of Education, Community and Social Justice.

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