Jacqui Lumiere, long-time resident of Haiti and our travel agent in Port-au-Prince (Voyages Lumière SA) , sends regular updates of the situation going on around her with her perspective “from the inside”. She, along with her Haitian employees and business associates, experience daily and often suffer from the many disasters that befall Haiti repeatedly. Want to know what the gas lines are like at the gas stations this week, or the ability to buy food staples at the markets, what the common man or woman feels about the construction efforts to date or the elections or the cholera epidemic? Just ask Jacqui.
“This will give you a very good overview about the situation of jobs in Haiti going to intl. contractors and those going to Haitian contractors. Everyone knows we need jobs in this country – as I often say, if a person has a job, he/she can pay for their rent/house/school for kids/food/health PLUS they won’t have time to be involved in demonstrations or crime, so therefore the security will improve. I know this may be an idealistic viewpoint, but it is also a practical viewpoint. Do you think that the people who were demonstrating last week and doing the damage to the country worried about businesses in Haiti or investment in Haiti? No, because they don’t have jobs, so as they say in English, it’s no skin off their nose!!
I can’t believe that USAID hasnt set up a dept. where they can help people pass through all the forms/procedures/rules etc. in order to have MORE Haitian businesses getting contracts. As for not speaking English – Excuse me, but Haitians, if they have a decent size business, big enough to apply for a contract, will certainly have good enough English to fill out the forms. That is a ridiculous statement.
I could go on but I won’t. I will leave those of you who are interested to read this and understand the REAL situation. This is business they are talking about!! And guess who’s getting practically all of it. Do the Int. donors actually want to help Haiti?? I sometimes wonder.
A little note on a totally different point – I was really touched and struck by a comment a woman made in an article regarding drinking bad water or not – vis-a-vis the cholera situation. She said that where she lived – which was way out in the “boondocks” – she said she had no alternative BUT to drink water from the river, BECAUSE she lived 3 miles away from a place where she could get CLEAN water. And remember we’re not talking about her walking 3 miles to just get a glass of water for her, but walking those 3 miles with a 5 gallon or bigger bucket on her head – for her family!!! It hit me so hard and I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. Can we comprehend her situation? We in “civilised” countries – have clean water coming out of our taps and we take it for granted. How can the Haitian govt. and the rulers allow this to happen to thousands if not more families. Just count your blessings. And if any of you are involved or know people who are involved with bringing clean water to areas – digging wells and the like, then pass the word.
Another point on a another subject. One of my clients in the States is asking everyone – presumably churches or other such places, to ring their church bells at exactly the time of the Haiti earthquake – in other words on January 12th 2011, at 4.53 precise – and ring them for 35 seconds – so as to stand in solidarity with the Haitian people and remember those who died in the quake, and those injured, and to ask that this doesn’t happen again. A nice idea. Pass it round.
Keep your fingers crossed for the outcome of the Election Commission which should be out on the 20th.
Would-be Haitian contractors miss out on aid
The Associated Press, By MARTHA MENDOZA, December 12, 2010