A group of Haitians in Boston met last weekend to organize themselves so they can be of better help for Haiti. As I sat in the assembly, listening to some of the people, a new sense of hope overcame me. I feel rejuvenated to continue writing about the plight of our people because I realize that I am not alone in the struggle in revitalizing our moribund nation.
The inspiration for the few lines that I am going to share with you came during a presentation by a lawyer, Jacques Dessin, who wants to establish an organization in the same format as the Peace Corps, only he would name his, Haiti Corps. During the presentation, he talked about transforming our society. It is in this light that I want to elaborate my ideas on what I think is really needed to help Haiti get out of its current quagmire.
If you have been reading my articles, you would observe a common theme and that is; I believe the Haitian people is the only hope for a better Haiti. How we go about empowering the people to feel that they have a duty towards the future of the country is the biggest challenge facing the new generation.
We, the new generation, must insert ourselves in the current affairs of the country without fear for our lives. We must understand the enormity of help that our country needs. We must be willing to invest our whole being in achieving the end goal: A better Haiti for all Haitians.
Often, people talk about rebuilding the country. I always like to point out that our country was never built; therefore what is it that we are going to rebuild. In my point of view, I believe the idea of transforming the nation is first priority.
We have a society that is accustomed to a laissez-faire mentality. At their own detriment, they have become complacent to the do-nothing mantra, “gaspiye tan”. At times, I ask myself do the Haitian people really want to put the effort that is required to build a true nation.
It is easy to blame others who have achieved success for not helping those who are still struggling. It is easier to point the fingers at those who are expected to help than it is to actually learn how to do things for one’s self. To transform our nation from one that relies on others to do things for us to one where we can do things for ourselves is indeed the first and most essential step in the nation building process.
Again, we must ask ourselves as a society whether or not we are ready to become responsible for our own destiny. We should make no mistake about it; there are people amongst us who plainly enjoy the fact that they have lots of time in their hands to do as they please. You have young people all over the country who are spending a whole day canvassing the neighborhood playing dominos, cards game, soccer, and refuse to take time to think about how they can become self-sufficient. Yes, our country has very little to offer in term of support, but I am always amazed at the sheer strength of some of the people who put all prejudices aside to put a bucket of water on their head and go street by street to find a buyer, those who have a box full of shoe cleaning stuff to shine people shoes, those who take a basket from Kenscoff full of legumes and fruits all the way to the different market of the capital city just to make a living. In our society, those people are regarded and treated as if they are a bunch of nobody.
The transformation that is needed starts with those in the direst living conditions to exclude this kind of bias prejudice in their thinking. They need to understand that in the path of prosperity, there is no such thing as a “vye job.” As Djakout mizik put it in their hit song “Biznis Pam”, you have mothers who have educated their children by selling peanuts, fathers who are raising doctors by selling “fresco”. What is important is not how they do it, but that they take pride in making an honest living by any means necessary.
We have too much wasted human resources. How do we go about building a nation without changing the lifestyle of a society? I personally don’t think it’s possible. Will the change of lifestyle be something the people of Haiti want? We do know that the country can’t remain to function as is if it is to ever prosper. Every one of us has a responsibility to help.
The Haitian Diaspora has a great role to play in the development of the country, but they will never be able to achieve their golden dream unless they start by transforming the mentality of those closest to them. It is not effective to simply hold two jobs in the United States, just so that “Ti Marie” can get a transfer every month. It is about time that the Diaspora fully invests in the development of the country. It is time that we start teaching members of our family – who depend on us – how to catch their own fish, instead of us always feeding them the fish.
The transformation of the nation is essential. It will be hard for people to understand in the short-term, but in the long run it will prove to be the right start of the building of a prosperous and developed Haiti. Transforming a nation begins with us, changing our lifestyle, attitude, and work ethics. Together we are one, individually we are nothing.
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