It is customary at the beginning of each year to make wishes and express hope. Most of the time, however, none of them materialize or survive time. In Haiti, it seems that, within the sad spectacle of deplorable contradictions, the country has survived 205 years of intermittent periods of glory and chaos. It is about time for all capable Haitians to look into past errors and look into the future imperatives.
This word future is cause for reflection when it is used as the indicator of a verb tense. The users of the Haitian national language are faced with a particular difficulty when they have to indicate the immediate or the distant future. While the immediate future is clearly defined by the marker “pral” [coming immediately or soon], the distant future requires the choice of “a, va, ava” [will or may be, but never shall].
It is generally admitted that people’s language reflects their way of thinking. Truly, Haitians tend to believe these lines in “Ayiti Cheri” that said: “Sa wap fè jodi ou ka fè-li demen si ou vle / Kan demen rive kit li bon kit li pa bon /Sa pa fè anyen tout moun konn di Bondye bon.” [What you do today you can do it tomorrow if you want to / When tomorrow comes whether it is good or it is not good / That does not matter, every body know how to say God is good].
However, the time has come to change the “God is good” mentality to “God wants action and expects positive results”. This new way of thinking is inspired by the words and actions of the new 44th President of the United States to be and the First Lady. Haitians, here and at home, university students, young professionals, men and women, open your eyes and ears, learn the importance of a vision, of good planning, of confidence in competent surroundings, of determination, of dedication to service and successful accomplishments.
These are the examples and lessons Barack Obama has given this country for the benefit of those who believe in true public service. Since his election, he has practically formed his 27-member cabinet and organized his staff. After two weeks vacation in Hawaii, the president-elect, we are told, keeps his early routine of exercise and meet for hours every day with one of his economics, security, health, education, energy advisors, while giving press conferences and remembering his family’s commitments.
Monday night, Michelle Obama sent an e-mail to the president-elect’s supporters saying, Monday, January 19, Martin Luther King Day, “Barack and I will be volunteering in Washington, D.C., our new home. I hope you will join us by taking part in this national call to service in your community. It will take ordinary citizens working together with a common purpose to get this country back on track. This national day of service is an important first step in our continuing commitment.”
This Michelle Obama’s call to service reminds us of a former Haitian president who committed himself and members of his government to plant one tree a month on his country’s denuded mountain slopes. This is one of many examples of what Haitians can do and should do if they can place the interest of their country.