After returning from a fact-finding trip to Haiti in early December it has been overwhelming trying to consolidate information. There are many stories to tell, and at least 30,000 words are in document files, trying to find a home. But some stories cannot wait to be told, especially now as Haiti faces another election crisis and threats of violence in the capitol of Port-au-Prince. Reports from the ground in Haiti say that most of the unrest is centered there, and this is the same experience I had in December when the election protests began and the countryside remained quiet as people went about the business of living.
That is not to say Haitians do not have very valid reasons for the anger, the stress, the loss of hope, and the ultimate specter of despair that creates an "anything goes" mentality.
The pyres were built but not lit in December. Things have changed on the political landscape with a chaotic election providing the match to feed the fuel that has been gathered for some time now.
Each of the frames in this short slide show is worth a thousand words. As it is, I am probably posting too many. Hopefully they will answer some questions and provide a conduit for understanding. As Americans, we need to ask ourselves how we have allowed this to happen.
Notice the faces from the cholera ward, the Potemkin village built by USAID, the locked gates keeping Haitians out, the pride, the poverty, and the beauty. Notice how nothing has changed for those displaced by the 2010 earthquake. Notice the colors, the defiance, the will of the people and the hope in the children's eyes. We all have much work to do to sort all of this out.
One suggestion is that we urge our respective political parties to ask the candidates what they intend to do about the mess we have helped to create in Haiti.