Brazilian UN peacekeepers conduct a security patrol in Cité Soleil, Haiti, during the second round of senatorial elections. Cité Soleil, Haiti. UN Photo/Logan

This story is part of a special investigation into Haiti’s gang crisis and potential solutions. To view the full series visit our special section, Gangs in Haiti: A deeper look.

PORT-AU-PRINCE — For decades, hundreds of nonprofit organizations have swooped into Haiti with the goal of “helping Haitians.” With each voyage, the volunteers carried luggage stuffed with medicines and bandages for temporary clinics, school supplies for an upcoming semester, even power saws for constructing bridges. 

These nonprofit volunteers, often returning on frequent occasions over many years, also brought along skills from their own formal education and work experience — nursing, construction, teaching, agriculture. Among those who arrived after the 2004 coup d’etat, some remember a general peacefulness at the sight of blue-helmeted United Nations troops milling about at Toussaint Louverture International Airport.

Overview:

This installment looks at the pros and cons of bringing in international forces such as UN or OAS troops, particularly Haitians’ resistance to foreigners.

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J.O. Haselhoef is the author of “Give & Take: Doing Our Damnedest NOT to be Another Charity in Haiti.” She co-founded "Yonn Ede Lot" (One Helping Another), a nonprofit that partnered with volunteer groups in La Montagne ("Lamontay"), Haiti from 2007-2013. She writes and lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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Murdith Joseph is a social worker and journalist. She studied at the State University of Haiti and Maurice Communication. She first worked as a journalist presenter and reporter for Radio Sans Fin (RSF) then as a journalist reporter for Radio tele pacific and writting for the daily Le National. Today she joined the Haitian Times team and covers the news in Port-Au-Prince-Haiti.

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I am Juhakenson Blaise, a journalist based in the city of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. I cover the news that develops in this city and deals with other subjects related to the experience of Haitians for the Haitian Times newspaper. I am also a lover of poetry.