How do we know if there is progress happening in Haiti?
Too often I hear questions about the “black hole” of Haiti, the government where money disappears to line the pockets of corruption. Why invest in a country that simply abuses any help that is poured into it?
Let me preface this by saying that I am in no way claiming to be a government expert or to be in the know about what goes on inside President Martelly’s office. I am simply talking about what I see. A country is like your body: when there’s something wrong internally, illness will be reflected externally in symptoms that don’t look pretty. When good things are going on inside, it eventually shows on the outside. After a year living on the ground in Haiti, I’m excited to talk about the symptoms showing externally in this Caribbean nation.
Last month I was on the hunt for anti-seizure medicine for Naika (read more about Naika soon on our blog) and had to take a trip to Arcahaie with Goslin, a CPR-3 Haitian friend. This city is a popular one in Haiti, home to Flag Day celebrations and therefore a good reflection of the government’s focus for progress.
On the way there, we first crossed a bridge that is awaiting an opening ceremony with the president himself. This project, funded by the government, both provided jobs and improved the road where a bridge had fallen. While they were at it, the water source below also had measures taken to lessen erosion – a big issue in Haiti. Goslin was proud to show this off, as well as were surrounding Haitians when we stopped. This project produced not only a road but pride and hope for citizens.
We then visited the next source of pride that was recently completed in Haiti, a two story market that is not only huge, but shaded and clean! This sanitary and organized market not only has plenty of shaded space but it’s own bathrooms as well. This second project by the government was completed this year, merchants moving in the past few months to buy and sell in a clean, cool, and organized market that pride and ownership is taken in. To walk through this market as someone who is used to walking through trash and feces, crowded stalls, and harsh sunlight, I was encouraged as just a visitor! Market can be an exhausting experience for a shopper, let alone a merchant.
Goslin was grinning ear to ear in pride and ownership of these two projects as we talked about the government truly working for the people through the leadership of President Martelly. No government changes overnight, but I can say that these are symptoms of some huge improvements on the “inside” of Haiti.
Stephanie Tayloris from Pickerington, Ohio and initially came to Haiti with CPR-3’s CompassionCorp program. She is now raising support to be in Haiti as a missionary partner for the next 5 years. Read more from Stephanie at her blog here.