Haitian blogs

Honoring Haiti’s Mothers and the late Father Gérard Jean-Juste

HaitiAnalysis -

By: Aristide Foundation for Democracy

UNIFA medical student assists doctor during Mobile Ciinic held on Haiti’s Mother’s Day weekend at the Aristide Foundation for Democracy.Please join us in honoring Haiti’s mothers! In solidarity with Haiti’s Mother’s Day, and in memory of the late Father Gérard Jean-Juste, a Mobile Clinic was held at the Aristide Foundation for Democracy this past weekend. Medical and nursing students from UNIFA, the University of the Aristide Foundation, assisted doctors in performing medical exams for the hundreds of women seeking medical care that day. Father Gérard Jean-Juste, who died eight years ago on May 27, 2009, courageously dedicated his life fighting for human rights and social justice on behalf of Haiti’s poor and refugees. Haitian mothers are like all mothers everywhere. They want their children to be healthy, go to school, grow up and have jobs and happy, healthy families of their own. In sum, they want their children to thrive and have dignity and respect in their society. These are, after all, human rights as embodied in Haiti’s Constitution, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the United Nations Millennium Declaration (Sept. 2000) that states in its section on Freedom that 
“Men and women have the right to live their lives and raise their children in dignity, free from hunger and from the fear of violence, oppression or injustice.” However, the number of doctors in Haiti remains woefully inadequate with less than two doctors per 10,000 habitants. Infant and child mortality remains high and women die in childbirth at a rate of twenty-five times higher than women in the U.S. In most rural areas nurses are the primary health care provider. Only approximately twenty-five dentists are graduated each year throughout the whole country and until UNIFA created the first degree program in physical therapy, there were no higher education Haiti trained physical therapists. The 2010 catastrophic earthquake made evident how critical this field is but to date many hospitals in Haiti don’t have units for physical therapy. 
Hundreds of women participate in Mother’s Day event at the Aristide Foundation for Democracy and access free medical exams and treatment at the Mobile Clinic held that day.When former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide returned to Haiti in 2011, he was determined to reopen his university to continue to carry out his vision and commitment to provide a human-rights based model of education as the building block for effective change in Haiti. UNIFA, the university of the Aristide Foundation, is unique with its emphasis on human rights, dignity, and inclusiveness as the path to a new and just Haiti. (See UNIFA’s Guiding Principles.) In amplifying her husband’s emphasis on dignity, Mildred Aristide framed the importance of dignity to the future of Haiti as, “…resistance is bound to a powerful will to affirm a shared humanity rooted in dignity…This notion of dignity embraces self-determination. People as subject and never object of their history.” UNIFA works on all these fronts. To provide a quality, higher education to all qualified students without exclusion, UNIFA’s tuition is much less than other private universities and is able to draw students from throughout Haiti because of its dormitory that currently houses sixty students. UNIFA is a fully accredited Haitian university offering degrees in seven disciplines: Medicine, Law, Nursing, Physical Therapy, Dentistry, Engineering and Continuing Education and currently has 1,300 matriculated students studying at its Tabarre campus in Haiti. Adhering to the State prescribed curriculum and educational requirements, UNIFA supplements course work with additional classes and lectures utilizing its own prominent professors as well as visiting local or foreign professors and experts, including Cuban doctors, who share different approaches and experiences. “Students gain their own perspective and state of mind. UNIFA provides excellence in education and a safe space for learning where students can think about issues confronting Haiti and seek solutions that they will ultimately contribute to resolve,” Mrs. Aristide explains. UNIFA is a stepping-stone for Haiti, where professionals are trained inside Haiti and students can control their own destiny and forge their own future. Through community service, participation in mobile clinics, gaining practical experience in clinics and hospitals, students build relationships in the professional world before they graduate and get to see the whole range of possible work in the medical field, including research and other specialties. Moving UNIFA and a new Haiti forward each year! The first class of UNIFA law students will graduate this September. Sixth-year medical students are doing internships at state and Partners in Health hospitals in Delmas, Mirabalais and Gonaives. Fifth-year medical students are gaining practical experience at the Hospital Bernard Mevs. UNIFA’s nursing students are gaining practical experience in clinics and hospitals throughout the Port-au-Prince area. Physical therapy students are in their third year and UNIFA hopes to offer a masters program in physical therapy in the near future. As of March 2017 the construction of the anatomy lab building was completed and is being used to practice dissection. The cafeteria will be moving into a new modern structure. UNIFA’s engaging Thursday lecture series are very successful and the annual Science Week held in May enjoyed guest lecturers from diverse fields who discussed proactively the realities of emergencies and disasters facing Haiti. UNIFA’s Campaign for Dignity. Next UNIFA needs to complete its construction of its Diagnostic & Primary Care Center so students can get the full range of practical experience while also serving families living in this growing region. It is the first component of UNIFA’s teaching hospital. As Dr. Paul Farmer, of Partners in Health, who teaches at UNIFA and serves as the President of our not-for-profit explains, “You can’t teach medical education without a hospital.” UNIFA needs your help to get this done. Once the construction of the Diagnostic & Primary Care Center is completed it will need staff, furnishings, medical equipment, and operating costs. UNIFA dental students will need dental chairs and physical therapy students will need beds. Until the teaching hospital is built, patients needing more advanced care or surgery will be received by the Hospital Bernard Mevs, UNIFA’s partner organization. Let’s honor Haiti’s mothers together. Please help UNIFA build a new Haiti. Help UNIFA construct its Diagnostic & Primary Care Center, the first phase of its teaching hospital. 
UNIFA’s medical students assist doctors during an earlier Mobile Clinic at the Aristide Foundation for Democracy.
Children at the Mobile Clinic held at the Aristide Foundation for Democracy. In the background UNIFA’s medical and nursing students assist doctors and nurses in examining the hundreds of women seeking medical care during Haiti Mother’s Day weekend event.

Haiti will never accept the electoral coup d’etat

HaitiAnalysis -

SF Bay View -- Dave WelshSome of the “cast” of a dramatic evening, gathered around the woman who should be president of Haiti, Dr. Maryse Narcisse, are, from left, musicians and Vukani Muwethu choir members Phavia Kujichagulia, Thomas McKennie, Dr. Narcisse, Anne and Jim McWilliams, and Val Serrant, whose magic drum is in the good hands of Dr. Narcisse. Thomas, Anne and Jim are members of the world-renowned choir. – Photo: Malaika KambonOakland – Five hundred people packed an Oakland church to welcome Dr. Maryse Narcisse, presidential candidate of Fanmi Lavalas, the party of Haiti’s first democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The event kicked off a week-long speaking tour of California that took her to Scripps College in Los Angeles County, the UCLA School of Public Health and the National Lawyers Guild annual dinner in San Francisco.“The U.S., U.N. and other so-called ‘Friends of Haiti’ brought about the electoral coup d’etat,” said Dr. Narcisse. “The election of 2015 was thrown out because of widespread election fraud. Then the re-run in 2016 was stolen again.“But Nou Pap Obeyi (We will not Obey) – this is a slogan our people believe in, because Haitians, who overthrew French colonialism and slavery in 1804, will never accept foreign domination.”Two Black women who go far above and beyond the line of duty to make politics work for the people are Dr. Maryse Narcisse, Lavalas candidate for president of Haiti, and Jovanka Beckles, former vice mayor and current city councilwoman in Richmond, Calif., the Bay Area’s most progressive city. – Photo: Malaika KambonThe Oakland event featured music by the Vukani Mawethu choir and the revolutionary words of drummers Phavia Kujichagulia and Val Serrant. A Black community security service, the Oakland-based Community Ready Corps, provided security. Dr. Narcisse’s California tour was organized by the Haiti Action Committee as a benefit for the Haiti Emergency Relief Fund.
Over the past two years, Haiti’s popular movement has fought a relentless campaign for free and fair elections in support of her candidacy, with tens of thousands in the streets almost daily for many months. They fought to overturn the results of fraudulent elections that gave the presidency to a U.S.-backed right-wing candidate.A long-time Lavalas militant, as well as a medical doctor, Maryse Narcisse has been in the streets with the people day after day, as they faced police bullets, tear gas, water hoses and clubs. “When you give voice to the demands and grievances of the people,” she said, “you win their hearts.”Robert Roth of the Haiti Action Committee, which provides indispensable support to Lavalas and Haitian self-determination, former Black Panther and San Francisco 8 member Richard Brown, and former Louisiana state Rep. Theodore (Ted) Marchand talk with Dr. Narcisse. – Photo: Malaika KambonShe pointed out that “Haiti is an unequal country, where 1 percent of the population own 45 percent of the wealth, and most live in abject poverty, with high unemployment. The economy is at a standstill. The price of food and fuel keeps going up. There is poisoned water, flooding and deforestation. Over 200,000 children cannot go to school, because most primary schools are private.“There is constant meddling by the U.S. and the United Nations occupation force, creating instability,” Dr. Narcisse continued. “They don’t want us to have our own strong government serving our people. These self-appointed ‘Friends of Haiti’ want to hold onto the power so they can serve international interests. That is why they intervene and steal our elections.”Standing strong on either side of Dr. Narcisse are Akubundu of the All African People’s Revolutionary Party and Black Panther Minister of Culture Emory Douglas, world famous artist who makes art that empowers the people. – Photo: Malaika KambonThe small right-wing Haitian elite controls the government, she said, and there are signs of a return to the methods of the Duvalier dictatorship, which ruled Haiti from 1957 to 1986. “But in 1986 the people rose up and overthrew Baby Doc Duvalier,” Dr. Narcisse said. “As in those times, today we are re-organizing, holding large mass meetings, educating and mobilizing our people – because the people want to resist and they will never give up.”Her party takes its name from Lavalas which means “flood” or “cleansing torrent” in the Haitian Kreyol language. And there is a saying in the movement: “Alone we are weak. United we are strong. All together we are Lavalas!”Dave Welsh, writer, activist and a delegate to the San Francisco Labor Council and a retired letter carrier, can be reached at sub@sonic.netThe Haiti Emergency Relief Fund can be reached at www.haitiemergencyrelief.org; please be as generous as you can – ed.

Famni Lavalas supports workers' demands

HaitiAnalysis -

By: Haiti Libre

Friday, Roosevelt Bellevue, Minister of Social Affairs and Labor, confirmed that the installation of the new members of the Superior Salaries Council (CSS), originally scheduled last Thursday, will take place on Monday 5 June due to delays in the submission of candidacies.

It must be said that several trade union officials denounced the formula used by the government, which obliges each sector represented in the CSS to submit two members per seats, among which the Government will make the final choice.

Minister Bellevue said that after the publication of the appointment order the new members of the CSS will have 10 days to submit their report around the adjustment of base salaries in the various sectors. He also announced the establishment of a Commission to deal with workers' complaints, stating that negotiations are under way with the employers to promote the reinstatement of workers who have been unjustly dismissed.

Also that same day at a press conference, Maryse Narcisse, the Coordinator of Fanmi Lavalas denounced the arbitrary revocation and police brutality against protesting workers and officially provide support from Famni Lavalas to workers and teachers who are demanding better wages.

Meanwhile, pressure rises in the streets, a new peaceful march is announced by teachers' unions on Monday, while health workers announce that they will go on strike in a week at the latest.

Absurity Abounds (AA)

Livesay Haiti -

If there is any place on earth more absurd than Port au Prince, I beg of you, please do not invite me there, thank you.

Below you will read a stream of random thoughts and paragraphs about totally unrelated absurdities.  

But first, you will find a few photos of my gorgeous collection of non functional appliances.  This is not the entire collection, I don't want to overwhelm you or make you feel less-than, therefore I left out two of my most beautiful pieces of non-working metal. (Washing Machine and Dryer) 

new warm storage area with lightingstove top still mainly works - oven came here from America and worked six daystop/freezer works if 82 degrees or cooler outside tempsOven will still light if you slam violently on the bottom rack after lighting.
Stove-top  died years ago. ***

A super strong and smart and sweet young lady that we have known since her 2012 sexual assault and subsequent pregnancy (and delivery at Heartline M.C.) came by our house to visit yesterday.  She is wicked smart and doing great in school (thanks to donors and a sponsor that support her).  Due to her academic success she was chosen to go to Spain last month with a group of six students. She wanted to show me her passport and photos from the trip. This is the narration of her photos translated to English: That's the bus, that's me in the bus, that is me in the bathroom on the bus, that is me at the back of the bus, that is me at the hotel in the D.R., that is me in the bathroom of the place we had breakfast, that is us at the airport, that is me getting on the airplane, that is me in my seat on the airplane, that is the bathroom on the airplane, that is my friend and I in the mirror of the airplane bathroom, that is us in sweatshirts in the airplane because it is cold, that is the van we used in Spain, that is the bathroom on the way to our hotel in Madrid, that is a soccer player jersey, that is me with a soccer player jersey, that is me with the famous soccer player cardboard cutout, do you know him? That is the soccer stadium, that is the woman that was responsible for us in the soccer stadium, that is 77 selfies in the soccer stadium, that is a piece of pizza, that is a bowl of rice, that is me with a bowl of rice, that is me with pizza, that is a kid that liked us so we did a selfie with him, that is a drunk man we met and asked for a selfie with him, that is a bathroom mirror photo, that is another one, that is another one, another, another, another.   I determined that bathrooms and selfies are what is most important when a girl from Port au Prince gets to go to Spain.  I don't know at all what Spain looks like, because there were not any photos of outdoor Spain.  Next Sunday Troy and I will go see her graduate at the top of her class. Nobody knows she has a son that will turn five this July.  We will cheer and cry and get several hundred selfies in the bathroom if there is one.
***Sarah is a 14 year old that is doing a great job with her little baby.  If you read this blog or follow on Instagram you have seen her gorgeous plump baby, Sophia several dozen times.  Sarah asked us to come talk to her Mom.  Sarah is having several disagreements and wanted us to try and help by explaining what we teach in our classes.  Sarah's Mom told us last Saturday night that she thinks Sarah and Sophia are "too attached". Those are the words used.  TOO ATTACHED. THIS FIVE MONTH OLD IS WELL ATTACHED AND IT IS NOT GOOD.  She went on to say that Sarah picking Sophie up when she cries is spoiling Sophie and that Sarah is messing everything up by having an attachment to her child.  Then she told us that she hits the baby on occasion. When we told her hitting babies is a reason to head to jail in the USA, she simply said, "I couldn't live there then." I had to talk to my own head non-stop while we sat there talking to Sarah's Mom.  I had to say, "Don't punch her. Don't kick her. Don't call her stupid. Don't insult her."  It was the most frustrating 30 minutes of the last week. I went home and lit the oven over and over so I could slam something.  Here we have a kid that is truly embracing and winning at motherhood at a very young age. She has a healthy, fat, secure. well-loved little baby girl and she has a Mother that is very critical of her and is constantly verbally demeaning her. I don't think the talk accomplished anything at all, except maybe to crush our spirits a bit more.  Sarah wants to live with any of us on staff at the M.C. but I cannot even begin to tell you how complicated and difficult all of that could be.  Right now, I only know to say, "Please pray" -  because I cannot find the hope to do it in this situation.  It is the bright spot of 2017 and someone wants to wreck it.
***A mom sat down in our office the other day with her 13 year old.  The daughter got pregnant right before she turned 13. Her boyfriend is 20.  That's not a problem for anyone, that age difference is not culturally frowned upon.  Being pregnant at 13 **is** a problem though.  The Mom said, "I was making a remedy for her to drink to "take out the baby", but someone told me I should not do that without coming here to this clinic first."  We sat and talked for a long time. We had Sarah come in with Sophie and share a bit of her story. We agreed with the Mom that teen pregnancy is really hard and "not good" (mom needed to say over and over "This is not good for me").  We saw on ultrasound that the baby is a girl and is due in October.  We asked Mom if the remedy is still going to be used, she said, "No, it is too late for that now."  We told them goodbye and that we would see them next Thursday and then we sat and stared at a wall for bit.  
In far less consequential absurd news ...

The man we paid to fix our broken washing machine tells us on the phone every single day "I am coming now".  He thinks we don't notice that he never ever comes. Not now. Not later. The next day, we call him again, he says, "I'm coming now."  Troy says, "You are not though.  See, see how you are not here ever ever and still?"  

So the washing machine is on day 9 broken and Beth McHoul let us use her machine and Geronne did a bazillion loads wash by hand and everyone wants to hurt that guy that never comes so hard. 

The refrigerator and freezer stopped working AGAIN on Monday. Troy says it is because I bought them in the USA and you cannot buy appliances that know of the good life.  They sat in an air-conditioned room and they know about that way of life and what did I think would happen if I put that appliance on a container and shipped it to Haiti?  Did I think that refrigerator/freezer would just accept these temperatures and keep behaving and operating? You get what you get when you do stupid things like that.  

It is far too pretty to get rid of so we're going to store dry foods and dishes in it.  

In our house is a stove with six burners.  Three of the burners work.  Below the burners is an oven that worked for several whole days after we bought it.  Some component fried out and the oven portion gave out two years ago. This is not a problem because the stove/oven we had before that has no working burners with a working oven. Lighting it is noisy because there is a routine and it is noisy, but still, it lights.  So, if you wanna make a pizza in the oven, you go outside to the oven.  If you wanna fry and egg, you go to the stove in the kitchen. If you want to refrigerate your butter, too bad. Not happening, see previous paragraph.

The dryer is broken too. Nobody in Haiti has a dryer except the Livesays. The Livesays don't have one now either, so no need to hate.

The toaster makes such good toast.  
That toaster never stops doing its thing.  

The owner of our house is making security improvements due to the May break-in.  He is really a great guy. We like him so much. He has more money than God because he is a super smart business man and he has several homes with renters in them. He made the wall higher in one place and is adding double bars to the window they came in and is adding more barbed wire to the front wall.  I wish he would just give us the money he is spending because once the robbers come it is gonna be a really long time before it happens again. I'd rather use the money to buy a few more broken appliances for my collection. 

Twelve years ago this very month, we sat down with many of the important people in our lives and said, "We think maybe we should move to Haiti."  I think about those young people that sat down and said that, and I wonder if I would even recognize them if they were here with me today.  
Absurdity changes people. 


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