Haiti, a look from within
(writen by haitians living in haiti)
Our Blog is all about Haiti and the ordeals we’ve been through.
Haiti, a look from within
(writen by haitians living in haiti)
Our Blog is all about Haiti and the ordeals we’ve been through.
Haiti located on the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean. It occupies the western three-eighths of the island, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Haiti is 27,750 square kilometers (10,714 sq. mi) in size and has an estimated 10.6 million people, making it the most populous country in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the second-most populous country in the Caribbean as a whole…
You’ve read all this and yet you still don’t know what Haiti truly is. Just like knowing someone’s name, birthdate, skin color etc. doesn’t makes you knowing them. Of course these data are useful but they are incomplete. To know something, one have to experience the actual thing. Technology have tried its best to deliver this experience with pictures, 360 views, videos, 3d etc. but we all know that facetime cannot show you what a real hug is. Just as this article cannot tell you what Haiti is, it’ll just give you a way to understand what it is, and your imagination will do the rest.
Haiti’s amazing past of: first black nation to be free from slavery, Christianism (which was also brought by the proslavery) and lead by themselves… The unknown future of the new elected president Jovenel Moïse which is in the political party built by former president Michel J. Martelly, a certain continuity is to expect… Considering both as useful data to help you understand the conflict between where we were and where we ‘think’ we are now. The only way to answer our question, is by visiting us today. And when you will come (I know you will, because that’s probably why you are spending your precious time reading this article, which is something I really appreciate), you will see all kind of things. From gorgeous breath-taking beaches at Labadi, Ile-à-vache; immersive hiking at Kenskoff, Furcy, Pernier, Milot, Terre Blanche to trash mountain around Portail-Léogane, Pétion-Ville’s public market and car station, Canape-vert. The experience can go from breath-taking landscape to breath-holding stench. But why the stench is greater and more affluent?
A country, just like everything in this universe, is a hole and is part of a hole. As so it consists of different parts. Some more important than others but all are necessary for it to be. A country is made of people, without them it would just be an island. And its most important resource is its people. If 9 out of 10 million people are using the streets as their trash bin, no wonder why it stink. I wrote all this to show you that, a country is the person living in it. So Haiti is us, either Haitians or foreigners. If it is as corrupted as it is right now, it’s because of our day to day behavior. The behavior of one single person is the one of the entire country. If I choose to be lazy and spend several months without writing any article, how can I complain when the KEP (Konsey Elektoral Pwovizwa = Provisional electoral council) have made about 6 attempts before they can get to an acceptable election. It is me, as a Haitian to nail my behavior into how I want the country to be, because Haiti is… ME, Haiti is us, Haiti is every single person living in it at this very moment. Whether you are just visiting or native. If more person realize that Haiti is them, that Earth is us, we will think twice before throwing that plastic bag in the street, before selling our national telecommunication center (TELECO) to the foreigners, before we bride the customs for blocking electronics just so we can sell ours. We won’t do these things if we knew we were the hand pouring apart the country’s blood.
So by doing the right action, in the right time with the right attitude, we can and will change Haiti into that right action. So if you choose the wrong action, Haiti will for sure continue to go wrong. I think that if more and more people become aware that their everyday actions are actually what Haiti is made of, they will do things differently, which will lead to a brighter future.
If you like my vintage point, and would like other people to know about it, feel free to share this article with them. Maybe if enough Haitians adhere to it, things will change for the better.
Located in the Caribbean Sea, member of the Greater Antilles and border with Dominican Republic, the republic of Haiti, and known for his great history had once again surprised the world during this 21st century.
On 21st of April, it was announced by the electoral council after two (2) round of elections, (November 28th 2010 and April 21st 2011), Michel Joseph Martelly had been elected the new 41st president of Haiti with a total of 67.57%. Now the shocking surprise was that, Mr. Martelly had no political background. He is best known as Sweet Mickey the president of Haitian Compas; a musician. Of course his involvement with past political leaders is quite famous, but to say that he was once a Mayor, a Senator or a Deputy would be a great lie. However, he was largely voted by the population that had enough of political liars. They wanted to try something new and fresh.
Since the fall of the Duvalier regime in 1986, Haiti politic has been in turmoil. Certain Presidents were unable to complete their full terms, which is five (5) years. However there was one exception, Mr. Rene Preval who was elected from February 7th 1996 to February 7th 2001 and February 7th 2006 to May 14th 2011. One would wonder what’s his secret? But of course that is his to know.
Where everyone thought that Michel J. Martelly would have been overthrown once he is in power, he surprised everyone and managed to remain on power for five (5) years. Those five (5) years had been quite hard for the population. Even though, he was legally and largely voted, the opposition took the street almost every day, causing chaos and disturbing the daily activities of the population. In the midst of it all, the government of Martelly manage to bring to life certain projects that were asleep in the government drawers. Like the construction of the Bridge of Delmas, the reconstruction of the Banque National de Credit (BNC). The reconstruction of many governmental building that were destroyed during the famous 2010 earthquake and so forth.
Every government has a downfall, whether or not they are true, and remains to be discovered. But it’s no secret that during Martelly’s presidency, the American dollar increased so much that everyone wonders, where would it lead. After his five years terms were over, as he had promised Martelly left power on February 7th, 2016. His government fail to organize the second round of the election that would have opposed the two candidate Jovenel Moise and Jude Celestin. To note that Martelly had created his political party by the name of PHTK (Parti Haïtien Tèt Kale). Jovenel Moise presented himself under this banner.
Now the opposition became fierce, no one wanted PHTK to rule the country for a second term consecutive. However the past election November 20th, 2016 proved that the population had no problem to once again trust their future within the hand of the PHTK political party.
Thus Jovenel Moise, a man made millionaire with no political background, just like his predecessor was elected the 42nd president of Haiti. With the majority of the parliament being PHTK, Jovenel will probably have no problem leading this country. The question is: Will Haiti rise back from its ashes and come back to the road of greatest or will it stumble further into the dark abyss. That remains to be seen.
Written by B. Claire Bijou
Haiti is well known for its slowness, compared to other well developed countries one business year in Haiti might be worth only a month or so. It all depends on multiple factors starting from our culture to our ability to cleverly procrastinate. Today I’m going to cut it down so that you can understand its flaws and use it to your advantage.
We Haitians love when things go fast but don’t like to go fast ourselves. We work under pressure everyday yet we’re still pretty slow. Some might think that we are not serious because we never keep our word. Well we keep them, maybe one or two months late, but we still keep them! To understand all this we need to go to the core. Here are several points that will make you understand why Haiti works so slow.
If you ask some parents they’ll tell you it was not this way in the late 70s. So why things have changed that much. Well one of the main reasons is the International Community, otherwise known as NGO’s. NGO’s have changed the Haitian economy. People who used to go to work on time and to get paid on time, have now tasted the easy money for literally doing nothing that has come with NGO’s. People used to clean their own streets, now NGO’s pay them to do so. And when you pay someone to do things they used to do for nothing, you create a lazy dependent person. Imagine if they start paying you 5 dollars each time you clean your room, you’ll be cleaning it all day long and get 40 dollars. Then when they stop paying you to clean your room, you won’t ever want to do it without getting paid. You will think that doing it without being paid is complete exploitation, when in fact paying you to do something that you were already doing for free is the actual exploitation.
Education is the basis of literally everything because it shapes you from your earliest age and creates core habits that can benefit or sabotage your whole life. One of its flaws is its time based levels. It is structured in a way that even Einstein would have had to wait about 14 years until he could stumble upon a science book. Fortunately he didn’t. It’s not only in Haiti, I deeply think that our entire education system is a mess and that it requires a complete rebuild. Being forced to wait until you can finally do something has built comfort for laziness, which is pretty hard to get rid of.
This is the number one reason why we Haitians are terrible at getting stuff done. No one in Haiti is doing only one thing to make a living. Most of us have several income streams which is a good thing but a very tiring one when all of them are time consuming. It all started with this concept called “Brass” which means hustle. We always have something to deal, some stuff to sell, some connections to make, and a side job to work on. And without a good priority management plan (which should have been taught in school) our efficiency turns into a complete mess. With all that comes another concept called “may” (pronounced like “my”) which means a constructive lie to cover one’s self when we it do not respect our word. It’s the kind of lie that gets you out of trouble without offending anyone. It’s a pretty useful skill, but when used abusively will turn into a curse. When you postpone your delivery date 3 times, no matter how good the reason, enough is enough, we won’t deal with you anymore. And when most people and businesses are like this, it is not an easy country to invest in.
I have summed up most of the reasons why things take so long in my country, now it’s time to deliver how to get stuff done in Haiti. The following methods are how I, my brothers, my friends and other entrepreneurs that I’ve interviewed get things done here in Haiti:
The world is constantly evolving and these words are just to help you build your plans and not to make you dismiss my country. Like every other country, Haiti has good qualities and flaws so if you want to invest in Haiti take time to learn about Haiti and above all Be Patient. It is totally worth the time and energy.
Imagine watching the world cup final game, second half just started, and suddenly, Blackout! No electricity. This has been my life for several years until inverters and generators became affordable to certain families like mine. Yet most families have not reached this level and cannot afford these tools. Interestingly I’ve noticed a strange thing about the blackout, which has surprisingly taken me to its bright side. Stick with me and in the following lines you’ll discover how bright the dark can be.
I’ve been to several places, and have seen the lack of electricity affecting people in so many different ways, that I came to realize that, too much of any blessing becomes its opposite. One should seek the right measure in all. There are, of course, many advantages of having proper access to electricity:
Candle light is outdated and boring. I used to spend hours studying with them, and let me tell you, it is not a good experience at all. My mother always motivated us to finish our lessons before the sunset. So that we wouldn’t have to read and study by candles. The most common side effects are headache and discouragement. I’ve been to a place called Savanette, where the luckiest ones have solar panels and batteries but most live day in and day out on candles and oil lamps. There is no electrical coverage in Savanette. With proper access to electricity, School success rates will increase.
Imagine walking in a complete dark street, so dark that you tend to use your cellphone to light up your path. That’s the life of some of my friends who have to wake up at 4am to go to work. Nowadays in the metropolitan area we have sun powered street lights that are incredibly useful, but they only cover the main areas. The tiny streets where most people live aren’t covered. In the country side it is even worst! Street safety and security will increase considerably with proper access to electricity.
Now you know why most businesses in Haiti only work from 8 to 5! All the money that they should’ve paid the state for electricity goes to fuel companies. So they spend more. They are ready to pay for 24hrs of electricity but the country simply cannot respond to their demand. If you want to build a business you must add an alternative source of energy to your list of equipment, and they are not cheap at all. Even boutiques need alternatives, that’s why they go for portable sun powered and rechargeable lights. With proper access to electricity private business will run easier and will be affordable to more of people.
There are many advantages I have not put here but those are the most important ones. Now, as promised let me introduce you to the bright side of the blackout. A side that most of you will understand and have even had glimpses of.
With electricity comes technologies like television, video games, radio, smartphones, laptop etc. all of these are attention catchers. We get so caught up in them that we forget life is happening away from them. Two days with a complete energy blackout would be the best cure for any of us. I’ve experienced it, and have realized that only in those moments of complete blackout, my family and I really gather together, spending some quality time that television and smartphone never allow us. I’m talking about real laugh, outside of the house, or even inside. No matter where we are, everyone seem finally present when their phone, tablet, or laptop is down. These moments are so bright that I think they would fix most family problems and conflicts.
As I said earlier too much of any blessing becomes its opposite. I would highly recommend those with a 24/7 electricity rate to spend one or two days in blackout. And those with blackout to have the blessings of experiencing the 24/7 electricity rate. For only those who can balance both will really take advantages of these technologies and make their life better in so many ways.
A few days ago, my brother got back from work and he starred at me and stated: “I’m broke man!” I was so astonished! Are you serious? He was like, no I’m not broke like I can’t buy food or fuel but, I don’t have the amount of money that I would like to have. I was pretty upset by that, but unfortunately that’s the way many people think, mostly Haitian folks. You might even think like this and in the following words I’ll let you know how I got my Bro out of this wonderful opposite of optimism.
I have other friends that are just like this, one is my famous clothes designer who earns more, lives more and has more than I do yet still complains about being broke. I remember when I asked her why, she said, when I say I’m broke I mean I have less than 1 or 2 thousand dollars in hand which for many people in Haiti it would mean you are rich.
I’ve realized that this sort of complaint is very prevalent among the late 20s to the early 30s throughout the Haiti. I don’t know about elsewhere, however the more I come across it, the more I understand that it has nothing to do with pessimism which in its original state is the opposite of Optimism.
I say optimism because most of my friends use it either to boost themselves to make more or to hide their wealth to others. Because in Haiti if you scream out that you have more than enough people will for sure ask you some. Personally I prefer diffusing that message and deal with those lenders than vibrating that opposite of optimism. If you’re doing this, here is something to think about.
I always speak like I’m the happiest person in the world, because that’s what I want. I don’t brag, neither argue about it nor faking it. When things are bad, I admit it, and focus my entire energy to feel a tiny bit better. You can use words like: I would like to have a bigger house one day. I wish I could make more money. Focus on creation rather than competition, because facing it just to stop others from bothering you is thinking that they can and are competing against you. It’s all in your mind sir.
With all that said my friends, I hope you’ll upgrade your vocabulary and will be fully aware of what that opposite of Optimism is. All that matter is how great you feel and how good you are at inspiring others. So use your words to create, not just to protect yourself from everyone.
Do you know someone who speaks like this? Share this article with them, they might thank you for doing so. By the way my Bro don’t speak like this anymore, at least not when I’m around.