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Born, Live and Die in Poverty and Hopelessness

The current conditions in Haiti leave very little to be desired. The mortality rate of this country is one of the worst in the world. Those who survived infancy faced a gloomy future. By the time, an average Haitian reached the age of 30, the hope of a better tomorrow is all but gone. Even for those who become successful in Haiti, the fear over their safety makes it more unpleasant to maintain permanent residence in the country. Thus, we are left with a country in a very perplex state of misery, insecurity, and worst of all hopelessness.

Under George W. Bush, this American generation finally had a taste of what it’s like to be living under bad governance. The exhalation of the majority of Americans by the Obama’s victory proved that eight years of an economic depression and neo-con policies was more than they could bear.

Bush and his cronies had a mini-dictatorship going for them, and Americans showed that they would do anything just to be free. We witnessed the jubilations of the American people from the Rockies to the snowy mountains of Vermont. On Inauguration day, the people braved the cold to express their satisfaction that an era to be forgotten in American history has finally come to an end.

After Bushism, the American people say enough is enough. As bad as things got during the Bush era for the American people, they still have no idea what it is like to be born, live and die in sheer poverty and hopelessness. And, I hope that they never get to know what it is like to be in those conditions, for my Haitian people have endured these brutal conditions for way too long and with no end in sight.

I want to remain consistent in my writing by not simply complaining about the tribulations facing my fellow countrymen back home, but to think deeply about the issues and try to provide possible solutions for an exit from the road of misery. There is no denying that Haiti could benefit in the short term from the many programs put in place by world organizations such as the food program, and others. But the reality and complexity of Haitian issues make it impossible to rely too much on those programs, for they have not contributed enough in alleviating the living standard of the average Haitian.

Progress is not possible without a sound educational system, and the word education should not simply center on school building project. It is unwise to keep on opening new schools when in fact we do not have a progressive curriculum to teach those students. It is absurd to be testing our students on materials that they cannot put to use for the benefit of society. So what is the essence of educating, if people cannot make use of their education to build a better community?

Education is a long term investment, but throughout the history of the world it has been proving to be a beneficial investment. There is no prefect educational system; for even the most technologically advanced countries are struggling to put together the best educational system that they can for their children. However, every society has specific needs, and it is through a sound education that the challenges of those needs could be met. It is therefore in the interest of all to define the type of educational system that would be most suitable for that society.

For the sake of argument, I will not propose an educational system model for Haiti, but I think it would be wiser to invest more on practical subjects in school instead of wasting valuable resources learning about French poets, not that there is anything wrong in studying literature. We could set up a vocational education in most of the public schools in Haiti, hence when the children graduate, they could immerse themselves immediately in the work force or for that matter have enough foundation to become small entrepreneur in their trade.

Education alone will not solve all of our problems, but I can not think of anything more valuable than an investment in education. It is true that if a child is hungry, he or she won’t be able to focus on his studies; therefore my other target in this effort would be the establishment of a national investment in native food products. There are no reasons why Haiti cannot produce enough food to feed itself. But no one can seriously talk of national food production without an agrarian reform—and that can not take place without an honest and fair government.

Truthfully, we have too much land not being exploited, and the few that are in production are concentrated in too few hands. Again, the complexity of the Haitian tribulations make one wonders if an end to this misery and hopelessness will ever come.

As I was talking to a fellow colleague last week, we both acknowledged the fact that we were able to attend school in Haiti, and traveled overseas in search of a better life made us very lucky. It is not that the millions, who are born, living and dying in poverty and hopelessness do not try hard enough or that they are less ambitious than we are, but simply our path in life has just rendered us lucky. It is because of our luck, we ought to help those less fortunate. We should never pretend to be better than them because the difference between them and us is simply a matter of luck.

You may think that you deserve to be where you are, that you have done all the hard work to make it in life, but when reality strikes, you can say that you were lucky to be born of the family that you were. It is unnatural to born, live and die in poverty and hopelessness, and yet for millions of Haitians that is all they know or will ever know.

Contact Ilio Durandis at [email protected]

Haitian Times

Haitian Times

The Haitian Times was founded in 1999 as a weekly English language newspaper based in Brooklyn, NY.The newspaper is widely regarded as the most authoritative voice for Haitian Diaspora.
Haitian Times
May. 05, 2012

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