Haiti, Cherie

Special to Informer | 2/27/2013, 12:10 p.m.

I can't help remembering and seeing vividly in my mind one poor man who was traveling from New York to Haiti. I think if he could, he would have brought the whole of New York back to his family and friends. The counter agent at JFK had advised him to rearrange his baggage. He was there, kneeling on the floor taking things from one suitcase to another, pushing down hard to make sure that as much as possible could go in the one suitcase. The other Haitians in line amusingly were saying "come on brother, you can do it, you are Haitian."

So, I understand when you say that a staff at the Embassy told you "We are Haitian. As long as you still have life, there is work for you to do to help someone else." Yes, there is always something to do in Haiti.

After the earthquake, I knew that not much would change in Haiti precisely because of the people's resilience. It was almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy. I knew that people would soon be going about their business as if nothing had happened. That's what scared me most for the future of Haiti. Soon after they could circulate through the rubbles in Haiti, Haitians were walking down the streets to their neighbors, some street merchants, were trying to sell the little bit they had from their businesses, children were still trying to wipe-clean cars for a few half pennies, "tap-taps" were fishing for people, etc. And that was life as they know it. That's life as those who can afford better think the people deserve and that's why not much is being done to make things closer to equality in Haiti.

The situation in Haiti is a result of both Haitians' and foreigners' actions. I can't forget, but I can't remember how many times I heard from so-called people who came to help in Haiti that "it's better than nothing", "it's better than what they had", "at least they got that" to justify the lack of seriousness they put in "helping with recovery!" There are some people who are truly helping, but sad to say in the majority of cases, the people who come to help are coming to help themselves. Investments are invested in the wrong places. Beautifying Haiti is not beautifying the people's mind to shine in the future. There is much that needs to be done to reverse the forced fate of Haiti and its people. That is a collaborative work of everyone concerned - a true inclusive coming-together to frankly discuss problems and implement the best solutions.

I have visited a few countries outside of Haiti. I can easily adapt to where I go and would enjoy life almost anywhere.

As a naturalized American having lived in the United States for a major part of my life, I have learned to live as an American at times -- that is living the life one lives when in America, as I would do like a French if I were living in France for instance. I have learned to think like an American and that is why I was hurt on September 11, that is why I understand President George W. Bush and President Barack H. Obama. But, consciously, the word Haiti always resounds in my mind. Haiti is in my heart. Haiti is the home where I want to be. Haiti is where there is much I can do and share.