Friday, August 1, 2008

A Plea for Haiti

After years of turmoil, Haiti has finally established Michele Pierre-Louis as the new prime minister. However, I have to question whether or not this will make any difference in the manner in which Haiti is run. For the past thirteen years, Prime Minister Pierre-Louis has been the Executive Director for a George Soros organization called the Knowledge and Freedom Foundation. President Rene Preval nominated her as his third nominee for prime minister, after his first two nominations were not approved. I hope that through her work in education, Pierre-Louis can understand what Haitians truly need. If I could send her a letter, this is what it would be.

(Pictured above: Children wait after school at a home of the school master who provides a meal of rice and beans with one piece of chicken to a group of about thirty children each day whose families do not have enough money to feed them. For some children, the school master says, this will be their only meal that day.)

Dear Prime Minister Michele Pierre-Louis,
Please take some time to hear my plea for the children of Haiti.
Each day they pray that someone so kind, would hear their voice and take the time, to give them one meal that day.
They pack their bag and head to school in hopes that one day they will pass the test that sends them to the university and onto a better life.
All this they do on one meal a day, made of rice and beans and one piece of meat- that is, if they are lucky.
2/3 of the population sit in unemployment, looking and hoping to find something that will bring them a dollar a day to feed their family.
On the distant shores at Labadee sit tourists with pocket fulls of money, wanting to spend it on an exotic adventure. Behind that beach sits a world in poverty.
Tourism at the citadelle and shops at Labadee could cure this country of its poverty, but officials sit with their arm raised like a pompous police- "Stop! This is our country."
Please, see the people with the hope in their eyes- it fades like the waning moon. Please, see the children with the empty stomachs-they need a little more food.
Please, see the mother, trying to nurse her now AIDs infected child. Please, see the people who are willing to help, if only for a little while.
Please see the people of Haiti, once strong in their fight to be free. Please, be the hero they need; not for me, but for the people of Haiti.

(Right: Horseback riding up the trail to the Citadelle La Ferriere is one of the potentially popular tourist attractions for travelers. Unfortunately, due to political unrest tourism in Haiti has all but vanished.)

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