Haitian blogs

Where Does the Money Go? Eight Years of USAID Funding in Haiti

Haiti Relief and Reconstruction Watch -

Since the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the US government has disbursed some $4.4 billion in foreign assistance to the tiny Caribbean nation. At least $1.5 billion was disbursed for immediate humanitarian assistance, while just under $3 billion has gone toward recovery, reconstruction, and development. Since many of the funds have gone toward longer-term reconstruction, there remains some $700 million in undisbursed funding ― in addition to annual allocations.

In our 2013 report “Breaking Open the Black Box,” we found:

Over three years have passed since Haiti’s earthquake and, despite USAID’s stated commitment to greater transparency and accountability, the question “where has the money gone?” echoes throughout the country. It remains unclear how exactly the billions of dollars that the U.S. has spent on assistance to Haiti have been used and whether this funding has had a sustainable impact. With few exceptions, Haitians and U.S. taxpayers are unable to verify how U.S. aid funds are being used on the ground in Haiti. USAID and its implementing partners have generally failed to make public the basic data identifying where funds go and how they are spent.

In response to that report, and others from USAID’s own inspector general and from the Government Accountability Office, the US Congress passed bipartisan legislation (the 2014 Assessing Progress in Haiti Act, or APHA) requiring greater reporting requirements from State and USAID.

These additional reporting requirements, which include information on subcontractors, as well as benchmarks and goals, represent a significant step in the right direction regarding transparency around US foreign assistance. However, limitations remain.

A joint review published in December 2016 by CEPR and the Haiti Advocacy Working Group found that the reports on US assistance in Haiti contain “omissions and deficiencies, including incomplete data, a failure to link projects and outcomes, and a failure to adequately identify mistakes and lessons learned.”

These weaknesses notwithstanding, the congressionally mandated APHA reports provide the most complete picture available of US assistance programs, whether in Haiti or anywhere else in the world, and remain useful especially for organizations on the ground looking to investigate or follow up on specific US-financed programs.

But a recent review of contract and grant information from USASpending.gov shows that USAID, and US foreign assistance generally, is still plagued by many of the same problems that have been evident for years. While USAID has drastically changed its rhetoric about partnering with local organizations and involving local stakeholders in the development of new programs, it does not appear to have made significant changes to its system of allocation of USAID funds. And now, what progress has been made appears threatened.

Some Progress with Local Partners, But the Beltway Bandits are Still on Top

The majority of US assistance to Haiti is through USAID. Since 2010, USAID has disbursed at least $2.13 billion in contracts and grants for Haiti-related work. Overall, just $48.6 million has gone directly to Haitian organizations or firms ― just over 2 percent. Comparatively, more than $1.2 billion has gone to firms located in DC, Maryland, or Virginia ― more than 56 percent, as can be seen in Figure 1. The difference is even starker when looking just at contracts: 65 percent went to Beltway firms, compared to 1.9 percent for Haitian firms.

Figure 1. USAID Awards by Location of Recipient (Percent of Total)

Source: USASpending.gov and authors' calculations

USAID has made it a priority to involve more local firms and civil society organizations ― holding informational sessions, meetings with stakeholders, etc. While there has been some slight improvement in the amount of funds going directly to Haitian organizations since 2010, the trend has more recently reversed direction.

In 2016, USAID assistance to Haiti was lower than in any year since the earthquake, totaling $140 million. However it was also the year when the greatest amount of USAID funds was allocated directly to Haitian organizations ― more than $15 million. This is primarily due to an increase in Haitian recipients of USAID grants. After totaling just $2.5 million from 2010 to 2014, Haitian grantees received more than $22 million in 2015–2016. A significant portion of this, nearly $6 million, went to Papyrus, a local management company, in order to increase the capacity of local organizations to partner with USAID.

In 2017, however, funds awarded to Haitian organizations were reduced drastically. Only one new grant was initiated with a local partner last year, totaling just $700,000. Though it remains too early to tell if this will continue into 2018, the decrease would appear to be consistent with the Trump administration’s stated “America first” policy.

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topics for the new year

Livesay Haiti -

The Internet is a place where the main objective sometimes seems to be disagreement. It would be silly for me to pretend I'm not part of the problem. I get a bit feisty red-head ticky and sometimes defend friends and enter into the fray when I should probably just go for a walk and do some square breathing. 

I enjoy writing but I don't want to get into giant debates. This makes it tricky to write anything except silly stuff.

For example: If I write about the problems with sexual abuse in orphanages, someone will take issue because their orphanage is great and needed and why am I always hard on orphanages. If I write about Haitian babies dying in childbirth someone will write to tell me it happens in the USA too and not to focus only on Haiti. If I write about short term missions someone will tell me that short-term missions led to their long term service and I am forgetting that. 

All of that to say, of course every thing has nuance and there are rarely situations in life where it can be said "100% always wrong" or "always ALWAYS right".  

Real life makes absolutes pretty hard to come byam I right?

Today I decided to put all the sticky topics of my life in one place ... Just to get it all out there and have a post to refer back to when these questions/criticisms come up in the future. 

Agree or disagree, this is how we landed where we are on several frequently discussed topics. We have changed our minds over the years and reserve the right to be wrong and change our mind again in the future if needed.  

Here we go!

RE: Social media and photos posted on the Internet-
Every so often someone will feel concerned that I am  (we are) breaking privacy by sharing photos of new moms and babies before or after birth. This is a great concern to raise.  
It is always our goal to respect and honor women. All of the women that pass through the Maternity Center sign a waiver/contract that states that they understand it is possible their photos might be used for fundraising and marketing purposes.  If someone doesn't want to be photographed, we respect that. We are constantly reevaluating how we share on social media and want to get it right. 
The reason we use photos is because transparency and donors demand photos. Who wants to send money to something they cannot be sure is actually happening? If I told you we had a clinic delivering babies in a developing world country - would you please support us, but I never showed you the clinic or the babies and mommas, would you blindly send a financial gift?
Honestly, if you bristle or judge the use of photos for promotional purposes - you cannot possibly judge as much as we do ourselves. It is uncomfortable. We don't love talking about the programs non stop, but that is  how things get funded. I don't know many people that deeply enjoy the part of non-profit or humanitarian or mission work where it is required we ask for help.  
The truth is, we need your help.  None of this happens without you. 
Asking the women we work with to acknowledge that we might use photos does create a power imbalance. How can someone who cannot pay for their care say no to my request for photos?  That is an excellent point, it is not lost on me.  This is not easy and it is not fair. I do want to assure you that if we share a story and photos about a woman, she knows and is able to decline if she wishes.
If we could provide the care for the women without ever talking about the work or sharing photos, trust me, we would. In today's social media driven world, if you have a solution for us to be funded without ever posting on social media, please call me this afternoon.

RE: Groups / Volunteers and Short Term Missions- 
This is something I need to write about carefully. It is not my intention to cause anyone to feel defensive or ashamed. I tend to write in a style that is too straight-forward for some folks and I recognize that I have caused hurt feelings in the past. I am sorry if you've felt that. Please hear my heart.  
For the ministry Troy and I are honored and humbled to lead: We don't need painters or hole diggers or short term volunteers. 
We do need to attempt to give Haitians jobs to paint and work and do things that will provide an income. More than anything, Haitian men and women need opportunities to work and provide for their families.
There are some organizations that fund everything they do from fees that are imposed for short term groups that visit. Those organizations might allow you to paint or do hands on physical labor for them.
That is not our model at Heartline. 
We want our focus to be on building relationships with our 50 plus employees and with the families/women that participate in the programs. It is difficult to have the time and bandwidth to build relationships with those folks if we are frequently hosting North American short-term visitors. 
We have found a partner that shares our philosophy and are currently working with them to offer occasional trips. These trips will not participate in visiting orphanages (to be clearer, Heartline does not have an orphanage) and the visitors will not paint. 
If you would like to check out Spero, they have date options to visit and see Heartline a few times a year.  
At this time, our model, our focus and our vision for the future is to leave team hosting to Spero while we continue to focus on our daily work. If you have questions about what I have written here, please feel free to email.
RE: Doulas and Midwives or Nurses volunteering or interning at the Maternity Center-
The Midwifery model of care is relationship first. To do relationship in Haiti it means speaking Creole (Kreyol). At this time, it means we only need long long term midwives (two years+) or Haitian midwives that are invested and able to learn language and culture. Just five years ago our staff was one full time local nurse.  Today we employ six Haitian nurses and/or midwives. Our intention is to provide as many jobs as our budget and patient/client load demands and allows and to invest in local midwives. Unfortunately if we are training anyone that is not Haitian we are likely to be speaking English and therefore losing our focus on training and raising-up local midwives.
Our Manifesto at the Maternity Center, or our Theology of Care plays into this policy. 
RE: Tours-
We love to show the Maternity Center. So many of you that read this helped to remodel and add on to it a few years ago. We want you to see it. The larger property where Heartline's bakery and trade school are located is also open for tours when scheduled. We  do allow and welcome folks to see the two properties. At the Maternity Center we can arrange tours every day except Thursday. On Thursday we focus on 70 pregnant women and cannot easily stop to give tours. If you are visiting Haiti and want to stop in for a tour, please contact us via email and we will do our best to schedule it and make it happen.
RE: Sharing our Model-
It is common for other organizations working in Haiti to desire a chance to come see and observe what is happening at the Maternity Center.  At times a long meeting is also desired to learn as much as possible about how it all works. Because these requests come frequently we decided to develop a manual and also a corresponding class.  
The manual is about 80% finished at this point. We believe it will be ready in June.
We will be offering our first class to medical professionals and women's health-care administrators later in 2018.  The date will likely be July or August. The first class will only be offered to those working in Haiti. Once we have the kinks worked out this will become an annual class open to others serving in other countries as well. 
Our hope and prayer is to share the Midwifery Model of Care (operating a Birth Center and Prenatal Care/Postpartum Care program) in a Developing World setting along with what we have learned and failed at and succeeded at in the last ten years. 
Please stay tuned.  If you would like to be placed on a list for further information as the details are firmed up, please email me at tara.livesay@heartlineministries.org  
As always, please let us know if you have questions or concerns. I am so grateful for each of you that give and pray and follow along with the happenings at Heartline in Port au Prince. We can be reached via email or FaceBook at the Heartline Facebook Page.

UN Confirms It Helped Plan a Deadly Police Raid in Grand Ravine

Haiti Relief and Reconstruction Watch -

The UN has confirmed to CEPR and The Intercept for the first time that its mission in Haiti helped plan a raid in November 2017 that resulted in a massacre by police of civilians, though it distanced itself from the civilian deaths.

HRRW's Jake Johnston did investigative work on the ground in the neighborhood of Grand Ravine days after the raid. Read his investigative article for The Intercept, and see his photos, here.

A Manifesto

Livesay Haiti -

Heartline Maternity Center Theology of Care 

At the core of the Heartline Maternity Center is our unshakable belief that every woman and every baby is created in the image of God. 
We believe their lives have unsurpassable worth and value. We believe every woman and child are deeply beloved. We believe that each of them deserve our respect as well as our care.
We believe God’s dream for humanity includes the women and children of Haiti. 
We believe God dreams of shalom - an all-encompassing active peace that is more than the absence of conflict but the life-giving presence of justice, wholeness, and flourishing. We are committed to participating in God’s heart for the women, girls, and babies of Haiti to grow and thrive.
We believe that lament and joy are sisters in this work. We are unafraid of the hard and challenging truth of life here in Haiti. We believe in holding space for the truth-telling of lament and grief. But we also believe in making a commitment to celebration, to life and joy as an act of resistance to despair, anxiety, hopelessness, and powerlessness. 
We believe God has called us to actively pursue peacemaking through birth. 
We believe in “stay and listen” because we are committed to faithfulness. We are stayers- we are not quitters. We have been here for more than a decade and we are committed to our friends and clients for the long haul.  We still believe in transformation - that God is still transforming the world and we are participating in that transformation, one safe birth at a time. 
We believe that maternal health care is vital to the rise of Haiti. We believe that it is the best and most long-lasting way to reduce the number of children placed in orphanages and effect change in our community. 
We believe the materially poor deserve access to Maternal Healthcare, & that Haiti needs more accessible care. We believe in tackling the root causes of poverty, oppression, and injustice by supporting and equipping the women of Haiti as mothers.
We believe that caring for women and babies is how we are experiencing and knowing God. Jesus said he was among the poor, the marginalized, and oppressed of our world and so we are there, too. 
We believe that the physical needs and the spiritual needs of our clients are inherently intertwined. 
We believe that maternal justice is holistic, - it includes the whole woman: her spirit, her soul, her mind, and her body.

We believe this. 
Your participation is key. 
To join us in this exciting work please consider a year-end gift here.

Click here for 2017 Full Review

Thank you for your love and support in 2017.Troy and Tara LivesayHeartline Ministries

All the Christmas

Livesay Haiti -

"But this child was a new kind of king. Though he was the Prince of Heaven, he had become poor. Though he was the Mighty God, he had become a helpless baby. This King hadn't come to be the boss. He had come to be a servant."
-the jesus storybook bible

Written by Rick Porter, Spirit Lake, Iowa Perhaps it’s just the Ebenezer Scrooge in me, but I’m not much of a caroler. When pressed into participation I sing, but rarely with the gusto of those around me. And too often I sing in a rote way, not giving full attention to the words. There is however, one line of one verse of one carol that always captures my attention.
A story is told of a man seasonally employed to bring the presence of Santa to Christmas gatherings for businesses and schools. He was on his way to a gig, an office party, but had been asked to stop by the nursing home to make a quick visit to the residents. This was pro bono work, but if Santa won’t do it who will?
He quickly made his rounds with a “ho, ho, ho” to each room. Just before departing, he peeked into a darkened cubicle where an elderly man lay apparently asleep, curled on his bony side. Santa prepared to leave in a flash. But the man made a feeble beckoning gesture visible in the dim light of a tiny Christmas tree. The volunteer Santa approached. The man whispered something so faintly as to be inaudible. Santa moved his jolly old ear very close to the man’s dry mouth. “Forms are bending low,” the man said. Santa did not connect the phrase, assumed confusion, gave a patronizing pat, and hurried off to his paying job.
As he arrived at the office party, holiday music was filling the room. The words of an old carol floated from the ceiling speakers:
O ye beneath life's crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow;
Look now, for glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing;
Oh rest beside the weary road
And hear the angels sing.

The song was “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear” written as a poem in 1849 and put to music 10 years later. The essence of the song is that angels did not just appear and sing at the birth of Christ. They show up and serenade regularly and often. 
Just when we are so burdened as to not hear, at the most difficult of times, when life’s loads crush and our forms bend, they minister most. Immanuel, meaning “God-with-us,” attends us as His invisible person, the Holy Spirit, and He is attended by angels. The heart of God is to meet us at life’s darkest intersections with comfort, encouragement, a touch of heaven, and a breath of hope. The old man in the nursing home wasn’t just complaining to Santa about his lot in life. He was acknowledging that in Santa’s visit, no matter how hurried, there was an angelic grace.
Whether or not you sing the carols this year, be encouraged to live the carols. For you, this season may not be one of happiness, good memories, or togetherness. You may be grieving, regretful, or lonely. Life’s road seems crushing and your form is bending low. That does not disqualify you from the true Christmas message. While others scurry in apparent happiness, the invitation to the crushed and the bent still stands:
Oh rest beside the weary road
And hear the angels sing.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

A tradition that causes some snapping (Troy) 
and joy and laughter every December ...

2008 is restricted to me only because of our internet restrictions or by something illegal we did with copyrights or something.

2010 is restricted (to us only) for the same reasons


GO HERE for 2014

HERE for 2015

and ...


Heartline Maternity Center, Port-au-Prince, Haiti 
 SARAH STYLES BESSEY originally posted on DECEMBER 14, 2011

If more women were pastors or preachers, we’d have a lot more sermons and books about the metaphors of birth and pregnancy connecting us to the story of God. (I am rather tired of sports and war metaphors.)The divinity of God is on display at Christmas in beautiful creche scenes. We sing songs of babies who don’t cry. We mistake quiet for peace. A properly antiseptic and church-y view of birth, arranged as high art to convey the seriousness and sacredness of the incarnation.  It is as though the truth of birth is too secular for Emmanuel, it doesn’t look too holy in its real state. So the first days of the God-with-us requires the dignity afforded by our editing.But this? This creating out of passion and love, the carrying, the seemingly-never-ending-waiting, the knitting-together-of-wonder-in-secret-places,  the pain, the labour, the blurred line between joy and “someone please make it stop,” the “I can’t do it” even while you’re in the doing of it, the delivery of new life in blood and hope and humanity?This is the stuff of God.There is something Godly in the waiting, in the mystery, in the fact that we are a part of it, a partner with it but we are not the author of it. How you know that there is life coming and the anticipation is sometimes exciting and other times exhausting, never-ending. How there is a price that you pay for the love love love.I was fortunate to give birth to three of my tinies without complications. I find myself thinking of those experiences often during Advent; they are still very fresh for me. My eldest daughter was born in the hospital in a fairly usual way. My littlest girl was born at home, in water, with midwives, a beautiful and redemptive experience for me. But it’s the birth of my son, my Joe, that stays with me in these winter months.  His was an unintended free birth in our building’s parking garage while we were on our way to the hospital. We were alone – no midwife, no doctor, not even in our own home with a clean floor but instead a garage filled with gasoline and tire smells. My husband was scared; a lot of things could go wrong in this scenario (he had the good sense to act like he was in control though). And we were surrounded by strangers – helpful, concerned strangers but strangers nonetheless – and they were witnessing me give birth.And yet my body had taken over and all we could do, all I could do, was surrender to that moment fully. Every muscle in my body was focused, my entire world had narrowed to that very moment.  And then there he was, born while I was leaning against our old truck, standing up, into my own hands, nearly 9 pounds of shrieking boy-child humanity, welcomed by my uncontrollable laughter and his father’s uncontrollable relief-tears. A few people applauded.There wasn’t anything very dignified about giving birth.And yet it was the moment when I felt the line between the sacred and the secular of my life shatter once and for all. The sacred and holy moments of life are somehow the most raw, the most human moments, aren’t they?But we keep it quiet, the mess of the Incarnation, because it’s just not church-y enough and men don’t quite understand and it’s personal, private, there aren’t words for this and it’s a bit too much.  It’s too much pain, too much waiting, too much humanity, too much God, too much work, too much joy, too much love and far too messy. With far too little control. And sometimes it does not go the way we thought it was supposed to go and then we are also left with questions, with deep sadness, with longing.My entire concept of God shifted in that moment, leaving my brain and my life and my theology to catch up with what my soul now knew deep. I could never see God as anything other than through the lens of the Incarnation, of his Father-Mother heart and his birth now. No theologian or counter-circumstance-experience can take away from what I know, what many mothers the world over know in their heart of hearts about loss and birth and raising babies and real transformation: it’s Love and it is sacred and it is human and it all redeems.  The very truth that God put on flesh and blood and moved into the neighbourhood through birth, even – especially –  that experience of birth, now showing us what it means to be truly human.Women can tell this part of the story this Christmas, the glimpse behind the veil, the life lived in the in-between of the stuff of God. There is a story on your lips, isn’t there, mama? of how you saw the face of God in the midst of fear or pain or joy and understood, really understood, Mary, not kneeling chastely beside a clean manger refraining from touching her babe, just moments after birth but instead, sore and exhilarated, weary and pressing a sleepy, wrinkled newborn to her breasts, treasuring every moment in her heart, marvelling not only at his very presence but at her own strength, how surrender and letting go is true work, tucking every sight and smell and smack of his lips into her own marrow.God, Incarnate, Word made flesh, born of a woman. We can tell the true, messy stories of the Incarnation. Emmanuel, God with us. May we recognise the miracle of the Incarnation, not in spite of the mess, but because of the very humanness of it.


Manne Charlemagne, Haiti's Iconic Troubadour: 1948-2017

HaitiAnalysis -

By: Kim Ives - Haiti Liberte 

Joseph Emmanuel “Manno” Charlemagne, Haiti’s most beloved and
controversial folk singer, died in a Miami Beach hospital on Dec. 10
at the age of 69, after a struggle of several months with lung cancer
which had spread to his brain.

His rich baritone voice, trenchant lyrics, and graceful melodies
inspired the generation of Haitians which rose up against the
three-decade Duvalier dictatorship in 1986. Sometimes called the
Haitian Bob Marley or Bob Dylan, Manno’s huge popularity won him
Port-au-Prince’s mayor’s office in 1995, but his lyrical idealism soon
dashed against the rocks of Haiti’s difficult political realities, and
he was all but chased from that office. In recent years, he had
withdrawn from Haiti’s political scene, except for some ill-fated
sorties which he regretted.

Born on Apr. 14, 1948, Manno was raised mostly by his aunt in
Port-au-Prince’s Carrefour neighborhood and came of age under the
brutal dictatorship of François “Papa Doc” Duvalier, who rose to power
in 1957. Both his aunt and mother were singers. His father, whose
identity Manno only learned from his mother in 1985, was also a
musician. When Manno traveled to New York to finally meet him, he
learned his father had died two months earlier.

Manno, who said he was from Haiti’s “lumpen proletariat,”  started
playing guitar and singing at the age of 16, and in 1968, at age 20,
he launched a mini-djaz called Les Remarquables. But he soon moved in
the direction of the traditional twoubadou music, a form of Haitian
folk song, and launched the group Les Trouvères with singer Marco

After Papa Doc died in 1971, succeeded as “President-for-Life” by his
son, Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, a democracy movement began to
grow in Haiti. Manno wrote politically suggestive songs about the poor
and exploited, among whom he’d grown up, and the duo began to sing at
small underground events of students and intellectuals in the late
1970s. In May 1978, the duo played their angaje (politically engaged)
songs on the airwaves of journalist Jean Dominique’s Radio Haiti
Inter, championed by deejay and station manager Richard Brisson, who
in January 1982 would be captured and killed after a failed overthrow
attempt against Duvalier.

The duo became a sensation, and later that year, musicologist Raoul
Dénis recorded their songs which were released in an album entitled
simply “Manno et Marco” by Marc Records in New York. Over the next
eight years, until Baby Doc’s overthrow on Feb. 7, 1986, the album
became the soundtrack for the pro-democracy movement both in Haiti and
its diaspora.

In 1980, the Duvalier regime stepped up its repression of democracy
activists. Manno slipped out of a concert and sought exile in the U.S.
on Jul. 4. While in Boston and New York for most of the next six
years, he became  a fixture at anti-Duvalierist rallies and marches.
Along with composer Nikol Levy, he composed much of the music for
Haiti Films’ 1983 documentary Bitter Cane, which also helped propel
the anti-Duvalierist movement and Manno’s renown.

During this time, he released his first solo albums, Konviksyon (1984)
and Fini les Colonies! (1985) to worldwide acclaim.

After Duvalier’s 1986 fall, Manno returned to Haiti and became one of
the most prominent artistic and political voices of the emerging
pro-democracy lavalas movement, which brought President Jean-Bertrand
Aristide to power in February 1991. In 1990, Manno had released the
album Òganizasyon Mondyal, which cemented his fame as Haiti’s
preeminent anti-imperialist singer.

A Washington-backed coup d’état in September 1991 sent Aristide into
exile, and Haitian police arrested Manno at his home on Oct. 11. After
Hollywood stars and Amnesty International protested, he was released a
week later. Manno eventually sought refuge in Argentina’s Embassy,
where a human rights delegation, headed by former U.S. Attorney
General Ramsey Clark, met him in December 1991 (as depicted in the
1992 documentary Killing the Dream by Crowing Rooster Arts, which
played nationally in the U.S. on PBS). After the delegation raised
$3,000 for his release from the country, Manno was accorded safe
passage to the airport and flew once again into exile in January 1992.

During the next three years of his and Aristide’s exile, Manno
traveled the world playing at demonstrations, fundraisers, and
political rallies. When he returned to Haiti in 1994, he successfully
ran in 1995 for mayor of Port-au-Prince against Evans Paul, a former
ally who had indirectly supported the 1991 coup.

Once in Haiti’s third most important executive office (after President
and Prime Minister), Manno, who had just months earlier publicly
declared himself a Communist, faced many of the intractable problems
of corruption, violence, and chaos that confront any Haitian
politician. Although once allies, he ended up at odds with both
Aristide and President René Préval. When Manno’s gun-toting deputies
brutally evicted illegal vendors (mostly market women) from
Port-au-Prince’s central Champ-de-Mars square, it evoked particular
consternation among even his most loyal supporters. He finally stepped
down from the office in 1999, a few months before the end of his term.

Manno moved to Miami and dropped from view for about two years, but
then in 2002, he began playing twice a week at Tap Tap Restaurant in
South Beach with Richard Laguerre (bass guitar), Damas Jean-François
(electric guitar), and Jocelyn Egourdet (tenor sax). The new band’s
music was released on CD as Manno at Tap Tap (Crowing Rooster Arts,
2004), and the band often played to a packed house over the next 15

Following the 2004 coup d’état against Aristide (then serving a second
term), Manno again spoke out against the coup but also made several
provocatively critical remarks about Aristide (then exiled in South
Africa) on Haitian radio (as was his wont), which earned him the ire
of the anti-coup Lavalas masses.

Manno continued to visit Haiti, mostly to form youth chorales in
remote corners of the Haitian countryside, like Camp Perrin and
Pignon. The sting and humiliation of his political failure and his
naturally provocative style caused him to occasionally make
intemperate declarations on Haitian radios, which added to his
political marginalization.

But it was the rise of neo-Duvalierist politician Michel Martelly
which did the most damage to Manno’s reputation. Although he had been
a member of the Duvalierist paramilitary force, the Tontons Macoute,
Martelly, who also grew up in Carrefour, had known and admired Manno
as a youth. When he became Haiti’s President in 2010, Martelly courted
Manno, giving him an office and a salary as an “advisor” in the
National Palace. Citing outrageous corruption, Manno eventually quit
the job but remained on cordial terms with his “friend” and fellow
musician “Sweet Micky” Martelly, even as popular rage against the
latter grew.

Following controversial October 2015 elections, Manno agreed to serve
on an investigative commission convened by Martelly, although it was
generally viewed as a rubber-stamp body.

Following that final foray into politics, which provoked great dismay
among many, he returned to Miami, where he resumed his biweekly
performances at Tap Tap.

Last year, Manno was diagnosed with and began treatment for a fungal
lung infection, which affects many Haitians who’ve had tuberculosis.
He visited Haiti in the summer, during which time President Jovenel
Moïse’s officials tried to entice him, with money and favors, to
participate in the government’s “Caravan for Change,” a sort of
traveling political circus. Manno refused.

In late July, Manno began to have dizzy spells and speech problems.
Fearing a stroke, he quickly returned to Mt. Sinai Hospital in Miami
Beach, where doctors found a huge malignant tumor in his brain which
had mestastacized from cancer in his lungs. On Jul. 31, he underwent a
successful 10-hour operation to remove most of the tumor, but it was
followed by grueling radiation and chemotherapy sessions, which left
him weak. In early November, Manno suffered several seizures and
strokes, which sent him first back to Mt. Sinai Medical Center, and
then, briefly, the Miami Jewish Health Systems nursing home in Miami’s
Little Haiti. Just after Thanksgiving, he developed a high fever and
was rushed from the nursing home to Mt. Sinai, where they discovered
he had a pulmonary embolism. Doctors were unable to dissolve it, and
the cancer in his lungs and brain continued its inexorable march.

In his final days, surrounded by a half-sister, former wife, two sons,
a daughter, and occasional visitors from Tap Tap, Manno slipped in and
out of consciousness. When a journalist from Haïti Liberté visited his
bedside on the evening of Dec. 6, Manno suffered from tremors and had
difficulty speaking and controlling his movements, but was lucid and
humorous reminiscing about old times. “You wouldn’t understand what
we’re talking about,” he said, turning to his son, Ti Manno, who was
also in the room. “That was before you were born.”

In the final three days of his life, he was mostly unconscious, with
the hospital providing only palliative care: an oxygen mask and heavy
doses of morphine to ease his pain.

He finally died shortly after 4:00 a.m. on Sun., Dec. 10. Although
expected, the news of his death sent a shock-wave through Haitian
communities for which Manno had been a symbol of resistance to the
Duvalier dictatorship, and an authentic voice and representative of
Haitian popular culture, critical of U.S. imperialism and its misdeeds
both in Haiti and around the world.

There are several books about the musician, including Manno
Charlemagne: 30 Years of Songs published by Fondation Connaissance &
Liberté (FOKAL, 2006) , and Nicole Augereau’s graphic comic book Quand
viennent les bêtes sauvages published in 2016. Among the films about
him are Frantz Voltaire’s Konviksyon (2011) and Dans La Gueule du
Crocodile (1998) by Canadians  Catherine Larivain and Lucie Ouimet.
The last album of his music, entitled Les Inédits de Manno Charlemagne
(The Unpublished Songs of Manno Charlemagne), was released in 2006.

After a private viewing for his family, there will be a public viewing
of Manno’s body on Thu., Dec. 14 at 5:30 p.m. at Notre Dame d’Haïti
Catholic Church on 62nd Street in Miami’s Little Haiti. Although Manno
was a devout atheist, there will then be a funeral mass at 7:30 p.m..
His body will be flown to Haiti on Sat., Dec. 16 and exposed on Tue.,
Dec. 19 at the Museum of the Haitian National Pantheon (MUPANAH) on
Port-au-Prince’s Champ-de-Mars. The funeral is scheduled to take place
on Fri., Dec. 22.

Meanwhile, in Brooklyn, the community group KAKOLA and Haïti Liberté
are organizing a traditional veye patriyotik (patriotic wake) to pay
homage to Manno on Fri., Dec. 15 from 7-11 p.m. at Haïti Liberté, 1583
Albany Avenue, Brooklyn, NY. At the same time in Miami, former
friends, comrades, and associates will be holding a similar tribute at
the Little Haiti Cultural Center on NE 2nd Avenue.

Although his final years were compromised by political missteps,
unseemly associations,  and outbursts, Manno Charlemagne earned a
permanent place in the hearts and memories of the Haitian people for
his revolutionary, anti-imperialist, and pro-democracy songs of the
1970s, 80s, and 90s.

To give a taste of his genius and to what he dedicated his life and
art, it is fitting to close his obituary with his own words, extracted
from two classics, Fini le colonies in French, and Konviksyon in

Tu me prends tout, tu me prends tout, pour deux sous,
Toujours faudrait dire merci à genoux,
Tu m’as eu, tu m’as eu, tu m’auras plus,
C’est fini les colonies, fini le temps de mépris.
Ça va changer un jour, ça va changer bientôt, ça va changer un jour!

You take everything me, you take everything me, for two cents,
I must always say thank you on my knees,
You got me, you got me, you’ll get me more,
It’s over, the colonies, no longer the time of contempt.
It will change one day, it will change soon, it will change one day!


Se konviksyon w ki pou kenbe w
Sa li ka fè w reyalize kòm malere
Tout vye chimen velekete
Se lite tout bon pou lite pou sa chanje

It’s your conviction that has to sustain you
That can allow you achieve to something as a poor person
On all the old treacherous roads
One must really struggle for things to change.

The 11th Annual is here ...

Livesay Haiti -

In 2007 when this family tradition began, Britt was 17 years old and Lydia was 2 months old.  

Britt and Paige have basically aged out of this obligation. Soon we will need to start incorporating their offspring. 

The last five kids were given a chance to call this a dead tradition. Troy and I said, "Hey guys, we can call it if you want. Would you want to call last year's production the last one?"  

They would hear nothing of it. They are not too cool for this tradition yet.  

We had about 8 hours total to give to the project so it was a simple year. One-half day of filming a few hours of recording Hope singing and putting clips together, voila. At one point in the filming Troy was negotiating with some guys who thought we needed to pay them, while the kids and KJ and I quickly filmed what we needed. It is always good times and negotiation on this island. 

From our Winter Wonderland, we wish you and yours a most beautiful and joy-filled Christmas holiday season. Thank you so much for loving Haiti, Heartline Ministries, and us. 
Your encouragement and engagement has meant a lot to us this year! 
XOXO,Troy, Tara, Isaac, Hope, Noah, Phoebe & Lydia 

pataje istwa ou ~ share your history

Livesay Haiti -

Time is hard to measure in Haiti. Surviving day-to-day does not allow for a lot of calendar awareness.  It can be difficult to remember dates of events.

Around the time of the solar eclipse, she was fighting with her brother a lot and her mother grew weary of the fighting.  

It was decided she would go stay at her aunt's house for a while, putting some space between herself and her brother.

At her aunts house she remembers that one night her aunt brought her something to drink that was a syrup and also a pill to take.  Her aunt told her it would help her sleep. She doesn't recall anything else until waking up.

She woke up "arranged in the bed" and her male cousin, the son of her aunt, was there with her.

She stopped getting her monthly cycle.

She is four months pregnant.

She is sixteen years old.

Christmas History ~ Year Three

Livesay Haiti -

(2009) This year will always and forever be my favorite year.  There was something tender about this year. It felt like we had a tiny piece of Bethlehem in our back yard. The kids totally enjoyed every bit of the making of the video.  The animals brought so many laughs.  Troy was convinced we'd all gone crazy, but in the end as he fought to get the borrowed donkey back into a truck, I wasn't necessarily disagreeing with him.  Britt and Chris gathered all the costumes and sent them to Haiti.  Troy wrote a simple song and Hope sang "glowy to God" over and over.

There is something about this that will always be deeply important to us all, in that less than a month after we put this together our lives were literally rocked as we watched and experienced our precious Haiti suffer the devastating effects of a giant earthquake.  This sort of represents the end of that stage  of our lives and our time in Haiti.


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