Feed aggregator

Happy Chaos

Livesay Haiti - Sep. 27, 2014 - 12:20 pm
I am hoping to sit down over the next day or two and update an exciting (new) thing going on at the Heartline Maternity Center.  I have a half finished post in drafts and we are excited to share with you.

(Also, two new Moms went home Thursday, another baby boy was born Thursday, we have lots of ladies due in the next month.)

Because the McHouls are moving after 16 years in one house, we have been busy helping get them moved out of one place and into the other.  We were also moving the Heartline office at the same time and getting a staff house ready for a new family moving here next week. The chaos of it all was mind-numbing.  The stuff that happens is utterly worthy of a reality show, I just cannot even begin to tell you how weird it all is.  If you peeked into one singular box of things belonging to John McHoul, you might start looking for a way to get Beth a safe distance away from him.  Related: If you need a VCR, he has six broken ones we are trying to get him to part with; make a bid.

Meanwhile, I am a tightly wrapped rubber band on the verge of snapping.  The tension over waiting on the travel date for Paige and baby and the tension over leaving the other kids and Troy and the Maternity Center has me walking on the edge of melt-down at all moments.  Troy suggested a sleep over for a couple of the kids last night and I melted down over it (got irrational and ridiculous) because I don't want them gone from me while I am still here.

Noah has always been in tune with emotional things. If he senses someone is sad, he is the first to reach out or try to make us laugh.  He is constantly saying ridiculous things or contorting his scrawny body to do silly dance moves and bring a smile. A minute ago he walked up, sang me a made up love song and ended it with this ...

"When you love somebody, you don't need proof. You can feel it."

I am hoping that he is right  - and that while I am away all the people I leave here in Haiti remember that I don't care or love them any less even when I'm many miles and two airplane rides away.

More from here soon ...  Happy Weekend! 
Categories: Haitian blogs

To our first grandson, some thoughts on life

Livesay Haiti - Sep. 18, 2014 - 11:10 pm
36 week GrandbumpDear little man,

It hardly seems possible that in four weeks you will be with us on the outside. Enjoy these last weeks in your mommy because being carried around in there is by far the easiest of all the options in life. Your old Mojo (that is me) sometimes wishes she could get back in the dark womb and hide in the warmth and peace for a bit.  (Don't be concerned about me, I won't actually attempt to do it.) I am not trying to scare you, I am just saying - enjoy it. That right there, inside your Momma, is the high life.

There are so many things I want to share with you.  Things about your Mom, things about this family, things about my mistakes and things I hope you can learn without pain. Learning is hard, it takes so many tries. To me it seems that most of us need to learn the hard way. We learn slowly, we fall, we stand up, repeat, repeat. 

I wish I could tell you ALL things that would help it be easier on you. More than that, I wish you could listen and truly hear me. The thing is, I know that you cannot.  I know you cannot  because I did not, and your Mommy did not. Because that is not a thing. We seem to be a gene pool that wants to get knocked around a bit as we learn.

Having said that I know I cannot save you from all pain or from making mistakes, there are just a few things I decided you might like to know before you come out into this boisterous and chaotic world. 

Love wins. Every time.

Now you might be saying to your baby self, what does that even mean, Mojo?  That is so abstract! You sound like a hippie or something. Let me tell you: As you grow up, you will find that sometimes things hurt you or make you angry.  Someone might misunderstand you, say something hurtful, or even intentionally lash out at you. When things hurt, when we hurt, we always want to curl up, withdraw, or strike back. That is just how we are, this gene pool.  

Your old Mojo wants to tell you that love never returns void.  I know you don't know the word void yet.  Let me try again.  When you are hurt, if you can try super hard to love yourself and love others around you, even the person that was mean to you, that will never be something you live to regret. A regret is something you later wish you could change.  The things I wish I could change in my life are all things that I did when I was very hurt or angry. We read that a soft answer turns away wrath, but a grievous word stirs up anger. That just means, when someone hurts you, you return their insult with a loving response. This sounds simple, but it is so crazy hard. It might take you fifty or sixty years to get it right.  I  know people that died very old that never quite got how important kind words and love are. Your Mommy and Daddy are going to teach you about love, watch them closely. I think they both know a lot about love.

Forgivness is so hard, but it is a part of love.  

This one is gonna be rough, there is just no way around it. I am sorry to hit you with so much before you even get here.  I just want it to be easy for you later, that's all. There is a man named MLK Jr. that I hope you will learn about that said, “Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.” That is a way of saying, forgiveness has to be worked at non-stop. People will hurt you, if you are able you will respond with love, but you will still have the work of forgiving ahead of you. If you try to continue to love someone you have not forgiven, you will get a big old smack of reality right between your blue eyes, it is basically impossible. Forgiveness just means that you don't allow that hurt to continue to cause you pain. You turn it over and cross it off, and it no longer acts as a weight you must carry.

One of my very favorite Dutch guys, his name is Henri, said it his way, “Forgiveness is the name of love practiced among people who love poorly. The hard truth is that all people love poorly. We need to forgive and be forgiven every day, every hour increasingly. That is the great work of love among the fellowship of the weak that is the human family.”  

To simplify for you, Henri was trying to say this: Forgiveness is really just love, and you already know how important love is.

Nothing is ever as bad as it seems.

This is just something you figure out when you reach 40 or so.  I am telling you early, to save you the trouble.  Sometimes it feels like the pain won't go away, or the embarassment or shame is just insanely HUGE and earth-shattering.  It does feel that way in the moment, your Mojo knows it so well. This might sound silly to you, but just give it a few weeks.  After a few weeks things seem smaller. You are just gonna have to trust me on this one until you get a chance to see for yourself.

~           ~            ~

Now that I have shared those things, I feel like I should say one more thing to you.  Someday, when you are quite a bit older, you will learn about my reaction to the news of you.  You might hear that I cried and felt overwhelmed for your Mommy and Daddy.  You might learn that for a few weeks we had a bit of hard time. Then, like number three says, we woke up a few weeks later and realized that things were going to be okay. We figured out that it was not so big or impossible. Not only did we realize that things were going to be okay, we got quite excited about the prospect (do you know that word? it means the coming possibility) of meeting you, holding you, smelling you, and getting to know you. 

More than 30 weeks have passed since I learned about your little beating heart inside your mommy. In those weeks I have prayed for you, loved you more each day, and watched your Mommy's tummy grow and begin moving like crazy. (She sends me videos. What is it you are doing in there, exactly? Nobody expects you to produce work until you are a bit older, take a load off and get some rest while you can, because it is not nearly so calm and dark out here.) When I meet you in just a few short weeks I know I will be in awe of you. I hope you will show me some of those fancy moves once there is more space to perform. 

I need you to know, the time it took for me to get totally excited, was really just fear.  I was afraid for your Mom and Dad and for you, too. It was unnecessary fear, I know that now.  I guess you get your first chance at forgiving (which we already know is love), right away. Forgive me for being fearful about you, please.  

I am so excited to meet you. I think we are going to like each other a lot. 

all my heart,


Categories: Haitian blogs

Capitalism redefined

Livesay Haiti - Sep. 18, 2014 - 9:37 am

You know how people say, "This is worth your time" ?   Then you give your time and afterward you get all hot and bothered that it wasn't worth your time. Those people waste a lot of our time.

We are not those people. (We are not impartial in any way, shape, or form), but THIS IS WORTH YOUR TIME.  

This is our friend Matt, the man that taught our kids what a hickey is by mimicking in the air what it might look like to give a hickey. (fine-full disclosure, we were playing charades) We owe him a debt of gratitude for that, so please hear his thoughts on poverty and work and capitalism redefined.  

We are for you, Little Haitian Factory! 
Categories: Haitian blogs

Date Night

Livesay Haiti - Sep. 17, 2014 - 12:41 am

I have been with Troy for 18 years, almost 16 of those years we have been married. This means date night is kind of a been-there done-that regular event. Many years of trying to squeeze in a date means many years of quick meals, often close to home. Date night can even be running an errand and trying to be back to tuck the kids in to bed. Sometimes it is romantic and sweet. Other times date night can be kind of hot and sizzly. Most often, it is just your average nice time to talk without any interruptions. Less phone/internet/four second conversations and more real/lengthy ones.
Well, tonight date night was not romantic or sizzly. It was however, insanely unusual.

~           ~           ~
Hospitals in this country are not good at communication.  That is me being my absolute very nicest.  I so wish I could expound without burning  the badly damaged bridges. We try hard to be patient and considerate while they don’t communicate with us.   We share records and information; they don’t.  We know our women by name; they don’t seem to. We desire to be excellent in our communication and co-care.  This seems to be an extremely one-sided desire. 
~           ~           ~
7 days ago …
Tuesday of last week (the 9th of September) we had one very sad day. One lady  (named Sandra) needed to go to a local hospital due to a failed induction and severe pre-eclampsia.  Another lady (named K) needed to go to a hospital outside the city due to preterm labor and a baby showing signs of stress. (K has a history of preterm labor and loss.) Two transports, one day.  None of us like this. 

3 days ago …On this day we hear that our patient at the local hospital thinks she has Cholera and we hear that our patient at the distant hospital is hanging out being observed.  It seems that nobody has had a baby yet, or at least nobody says they have.
1 day ago …
Nirva, the nurse that brought Sandra to the hospital, stopped by the hospital to check on her.  The hospital told Nirva they have no record of her being there. We never know if this is a game, a power trip, or if we should maybe not assume conspiracy, when incompetence explains everything.  We feel frustrated that we don’t know where the woman is that we brought there for care.
8 hours ago …
As we all sat down to start our day at the Maternity Center today, word came from a friend of Sandra, the patient at the local hospital.  The friend said that the hospital we had dropped the woman off with had brought her to another hospital.  We were incredulous. Why would the specialty hospital do that?  The friend went on to say that there had been a  C-Section and a seizure (eclampsia) after the surgery and that for some reason she was at a different hospital than we dropped her off at one week earlier.

~           ~           ~(Date Night!)
Tonight Troy and I set off on a pseudo date. Neither of us expected hot and sizzly or romantic, but we figured we could grab a quick visit with friends up the hill or maybe stop for a sandwich or something. 
Our date night plan was to bring Sherly, a mother who delivered at the Maternity Center last Friday, to her home about 10 miles away and on our way home we’d pass by some options for a speed date, plus we would get the drive time together without kids.
While Troy was picking up the Mom and new baby and KJ, who had agreed to come to our house to be with the kids, we learned that the patient (Sandra) at the local hospital (the second local one according to the intel we had been given by the friend) had been discharged and needed a ride.  We decided we could go get her after dropping Sherly.
Date night began at about 6:45 pm as we pulled out of our neighborhood with the new Mama. She explained where she lived to Troy.  We climbed up the hills toward her area of town and she asked to pull over to use the bathroom in God’s great big toilet (the city of Port au Prince has been called worse). 
I got to hold baby Zola while that was taken care of and we continued on our way.  As we discussed the hard day it had been and how frustrating all the crappy care of humans can be, I said to Troy, “I need to remember this baby has nothing to do with this, when I am frustrated and want to give up I need to remember that Zola deserves kindness and a chance.”  
Rain started to fall in the fashion in which it usually falls in Haiti.  That is to say, it began to intensely pour down rain.  We sat in traffic jam after traffic jam.  Just when we thought we were all clear to reach a record-setting speed of 35 MPH, boom, another log jam.  Troy continued on toward our destination.  At 8pm we arrived in Sherly’s neighborhood, approximately 8 miles from where we began. We parked the ambulance on a steep slope with rushing water all around us.  We sat for a moment wondering if we would all rather wait for the rain to pass.  Together we agreed that was not likely to happen anytime soon.  I wrapped Zola tight, cursed myself for wearing wobbly heels (HELLO?!?! – DATE NIGHT calls for heels) and we followed Sherly down a lightless tight corridor with uneven ground and ankle spraining opportunities at every step.

Troy decided it smelled like urine and wished he had closed toe shoes.  I thought, “at least your open toes shoes aren’t two inch high heels, Mister.”  We walked to the dark home of Sherly.  City power was out for that zone, therefore a quick prayer in the pitch dark was said and we went back out to the uneven, urine  scented, narrow passageway.
We knew by this time that stopping in to visit friends or sitting down for a meal would mean that the lady waiting on us would wait too long.  We ran into a grocery store and bought two sodas, cheese, chips, and hummus.  They charged us the wrong price for the cheese and my Dutch heritage grabbed hold of me tightly and I had a little fit.  The credit card had already been swiped with the cheese that was apparently worth its weight in gold.  Troy looked at me as if to say, “Do we need to do this?”  I declared defeat and walked outside to wait for him to sign the slip. While I was walking to the car complaining about the crappy customer service and my frustration at the cashier’s refusal to give a damn, Troy said he was thinking, “You need to remember when you are mad and frustrated that baby Zola has nothing to do with this and deserves kindness and a chance.”
Fine.  Expensive cheese is a small problem. I hear that...Probably not a reason to throw in the towel.  (If only we had a towel on this date.)
We ate Chips and Hummus and tried not to shiver in our wet clothes and shoes and headed toward the hospital to find Sandra. 
At the hospital we spoke to a receptionist, a doctor, a guy with a job that we couldn’t discern, and we were led room to room  (a few of which smelled like urine too, but that could have been Troy’s shoes) asking every nurse in every room full of  people for Sandra.  We most certainly walked in at least two complete circles and found little to no response or aid in our quest.
After twenty minutes of looking room to room we called the Maternity Center and asked the family member waiting there if they would tell Sandra by telephone that we could not locate her and to please come to the front of the hospital.  Fifteen minutes later I said to Troy, “You know we could be here another hour waiting for her to come out.”  He said “Yes, I know. Now we wait. The trick is to wait well.” Troy called the Maternity Center and asked for a phone number for Sandra.  Upon calling the number Troy learned from a relative that they were waiting outside but did not see us so they went back in. Troy explained that we had been waiting inside, but now were looking outside, and still did not see them. He eventually asked, “What hospital are you outside of?”  As it turns out they were back at the original hospital we had dropped her off at a week earlier.  We headed there. 
Upon arrival we learned that Sandra’s family member refers to  hospital #1 (and maybe all hospitals) by the same name and therefore when we were told she was at hospital #2, it was really just one family member not knowing the name of hospital #1. Our heads were spinning by this point (hours later) but we were very relieved to find the waiting new mother and baby.  
As we headed back to the Maternity Center, I looked at my phone and found a message that said, “K's husband says that the hospital wants them to leave tomorrow (tonight if possible).” The hospital she needs to be picked up from is at least ninety minutes outside of the city.
Sadly, or fortunately, date night was over. 10pm, we pulled into the Maternity Center with Sandra and decided K would need to wait until tomorrow. 
Looking forward to a new day - another opportunity for rain, urine, dinner in an ambulance, and time with Troy and Haiti’s new mothers, babies, and families.  I can’t wait!

Categories: Haitian blogs

Ex-President of Haiti Put Under House Arrest

New York Times on Haiti - Sep. 13, 2014 - 12:00 am
Jean-Bertrand Aristide was placed on house arrest in a corruption investigation, an order protested by his supporters whom claimed there was no provision in Haitian law for such a penalty.
Categories: Haitian blogs

Haiti's Aritide reportedly placed under house arrest

Michael Deibert's Haiti Blog - Sep. 10, 2014 - 11:41 am
Both Haiti's Radio Kiskeya and Le Nouvelliste are reporting that Judge Lamarre Bélizaire has ordered former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to be placed under house arrest as persuant to charges against him of corruption, money laundering, extortion and drug trafficking dating from his 2001 to 2004 tenure as Haiti's president. This saga certainly isn't over yet, and it will be interesting to see how it plays out.
Categories: Haitian blogs

the current blur

Livesay Haiti - Sep. 9, 2014 - 3:54 pm
Since I last wrote here it became "fall" and the 2014-2015 school year started. We are zooming toward the end of a calendar year that has been filled with surprises. (A grandbaby, a terrible ongoing battle with a tropical virus we had previously never heard of, a finish line of midwifery school, a start line of midwifery, a wedding in the works, etc. etc. ad infinitum.) 

The days are flying by in a blur of action and activity and intense emotion.  Do you remember when Lydia used to communicate high HIGH emotional turmoil by taking her hands, making little claws, and shaking them up near her ears while gritting her teeth? Well, that's me right now. 

With so much happening I find that there are too many feelings left unprocessed (or possibly too big to process yet) and for me, that is the number one cause of writers block. 

The time to officially begin using our mixed-drink-sounding grandparent names is fast approaching. In a month we will split up our family in order for Mojo to meet grandbump and Tito to keep the other five in school and on task in Haiti.  I am looking forward to that. I am dreading that. I am looking forward to that. AAAARRRGGGHH. I'm conflicted, as per usual.

I have been asking God for an invention that allows me to be in two places at once. I wait impatiently for His reply.

Beth M, KJ, T, Dokte Jen
Last weekend the Heartline midwifery staff of three met up with the Heartline Physician advisory staff of one - and we all re-certified our NRP skillz.  A room full of crunchy midwife ladies with the good Doctor Jen as the only physician in the room made for some good clean fun. We stopped short of taking off our bras, joining arms, and singing to our uteri - thank -you Laawd.
Thankfully, Dokte Jen understands weirdwives after so many years with us. We have all been taught so much by Jen - things that we could not have done without her guidance. We make a rare team and a there is a bit of a mutual admiration society between Doc and Weirdwife.  At the end of the class a lady told us that she enjoyed watching us interact all day and that she could see we loved each other and had a lot of fun together. We felt that was the ultimate compliment.
morning beach walk/jog in FL

not part of NRP but part of being weirdwives - or just weird 

checking out the USA celebrity news in line at WalMartTrips to the USA with Beth McHoul are never boring. A person that has resided in Haiti 25 years is good for many wonderful insights and laughs in 'merica.  KJ (Beth J's name to keep the Beths straight) and Jen tried to say that I am on my way to being just as entertaining but I categorically reject that lie. 

~            ~               ~

As anyone reading this for very long has figured out, Troy married me and got three of us in a package deal. Britt and Paige went through all their teen years with Troy as their (step) Dad (they don't so much like him to have that S word added in.) That to say, we have experienced raising a couple of teens together. We have learned the hard way in a few areas.  We know we've messed up more than once. (Love wash over a multitude of things.) 

We are now entering into teen phase with the next grouping of children. 

Isaac led the way Sunday when he turned thirteen. He learned earlier this year that he was born on the 7th of September, his adoption paperwork had listed his birthdate as the 18th of the month. This year we celebrated his birth on the actual date instead of eleven days late as in the previous 12 celebrations. Our Haiti family/friends came to make the day special. Skype failed us, so the family and loved ones that are far away got to talk to him on Voxer. 

Hope and Isaac are both seventh grade this year.  It seems impossible that it was 12 years ago next month that they joined our family.  It has been wonderful watching them embrace their new more difficult curriculum and see them working hard to get the work done.  Jimmy and Becky are both teaching this first semester. For second semester we are so excited that Caroline (she taught math in Waco last fall) will join us for four months. 

First Day of School at Heartline Academy
Teacher Jimmy in back row, Meadows kids, Livesay kids

~           ~             ~

Links worth your time:

1.) Alice Su, 1 JOHN, ISIS AND THE GOSPEL VERSUS TERROR I have been afraid lately. I think often about the deaths of James Foley, Steven Sotloff, many more journalists and millions of children, women, fathers, brothers, best friends, uncles and neighbors in Syria, Gaza, Iraq, Egypt, Sudan and more. I can’t shake the feeling that death is crouching around the corner, at the doorstep of all the journalists, of all the civilians, of too many people who have become dear to me and thousands more that I’ve yet to meet. Everyone I know is scarred. Some are still bleeding. Hate and fear are in the air, and things are getting worse.Later in the article:

The Gospel offers a call to die, not to take anyone down but to lift them up. To give our lives up in peace and sacrifice and brotherly love. It is not sane. It is utterly unsafe, flying against all my self-righteous inclinations. But that is Christ, and we love Him so, for He first loved us.When we see and know and taste this, we walk forward with joy. We are walking on a stream of living water that flows from Him in and through us. It grows trees with fruit in all seasons and leaves for the healing of the nations. We are so alive! Even if we may die today or tomorrow. We live in light.We are not afraid.Read the rest here.
2.)The Work of the People  - Greg Boyd, Making God In Our Own Image(TWOTP has tons of interviews/videos and is my favorite website ev-ah.) http://www.theworkofthepeople.com/


Donald Miller - I’m Glad I’m Not the Same Guy Who Wrote Blue Like Jazz
If I haven’t changed, something is drastically wrong.People are designed to grow and if they don’t it’s because something’s wrong. There are forces in the world that do not want you to grow, change or get stronger. A variety of motives cause this resistance, but regardless, it must be fought.God designed you to grow from a baby to a child to a teenager to an adult and even after you’re an adult you’re designed to continue learning about God, about love, about each other and about yourself. Not a day goes by when we aren’t given the opportunity to become a better person. Why in the world would anybody want to stay the same?
Read the rest here. 

Categories: Haitian blogs

Les avocats de l’ancien Président Jean Bertrand ARISTIDE dénoncent "une campagne de désinformation visant, ont-ils dit, à tromper l’opinion publique en faisant croire que Monsieur Aristide refuserait de se présenter devant la justice.

HaitiAnalysis - Sep. 5, 2014 - 11:47 am
Agence Haitienne de Presse (AHP) Nouvelles du 3 septembre 2014

Les avocats de l’ancien Président Jean Bertrand ARISTIDE dénoncent "une campagne de désinformation visant, ont-ils dit, à  tromper l’opinion publique en faisant croire que Monsieur Aristide refuserait de se présenter devant la justice. Les avocats de l'ancien chef d'Etat rappellent entre autres, s'être adressés à la  justice, particulièrement à la Cour de cassation pour obtenir le dessaisissement de son  dossier du juge d’instruction, Maître Lamarre BELIZAIRE, pour cause de suspicion légitime.

 Note de presse  du Bureau des Avocats internationaux

"Les avocats de l’ancien Président Jean Bertrand ARISTIDE présentent leurs compliments à la  population et croient opportun de dénoncer une campagne de désinformation visant à  tromper l’opinion publique en faisant croire que Monsieur Jean Bertrand ARISTIDE a refusé de se présenter devant la justice.  Rien n’est plus faux.

Il s’est déjà présenté devant la justice et s’est récemment adressé à la  justice, particulièrement à la Cour de cassation pour obtenir le dessaisissement de son  dossier du juge d’instruction, Maître Lamarre BELIZAIRE, pour cause de suspicion légitime.

Il  n’offre aucune garantie d’impartialité et est totalement acquis au pouvoir pour les raisons  suivantes. La loi fixant le statut des magistrats établit clairement les conditions pour être nommé juge à un Tribunal de Première Instance.

 Le postulant doit être diplômé de l’École de la magistrature ou être avocat depuis 8 ans. Maître Lamarre Belizaire n’est pas diplômé de l’École de la magistrature et avait lors de sa  nomination à peine trois ans de pratique comme avocat et non les 8 ans qu’exige la loi.

 La Cour de cassation a décidé qu’un plaideur qui a des motifs sérieux de douter de  l’impartialité d’un juge, en raison de ses tendances et de ses intérêts peut demander le  renvoi devant une autre juridiction pour cause de suspicion légitime : « Voir Pierre-Marie  Michel, Code de procédure civile, note 16 en dessous de l’article 457 ».

Dans ce cas, le cabinet d’instruction du juge Raymond Gilles avait été dessaisi et l’affaire  renvoyée à un autre juge d’instruction, ce qui devrait mettre fin aux informations erronées  qu’un  juge d’instruction ne peut être dessaisi.

 D’ailleurs, en date du 16 Juin 2014, la Cour de  Cassation de la République a rendu un Arrêt dans lequel elle a déclaré admissible la  demande en récusation présentée contre le juge d’Instruction Lamarre BELIZAIRE par les  sieurs Franckel  POLYNINCE, Yves CUPIDON et Luckner JEAN.

De plus, le Doyen du Tribunal de  Première Instance de Port-au-Prince, Me Raymond Jean Michel, n’a-t-il pas  déclaré sur les  ondes de certaines stations de radios de la capitale :  « dès lors où le juge reçoit la  déclaration en dessaisissement , il doit surseoir à la connaissance de l’affaire ».

Le respect dû à la loi s’impose d’abord à ceux qui sont chargés de l’appliquer. En convoquant dans ces circonstances le chef de la police, le juge Lamarre Bélizaire essaie de retenir un  dossier qui a été l’objet d’une demande en dessaisissement pour cause de suspicion  légitime.

Un juge dont l’appartenance et les intérêts sont de notoriété publique, peut-il sans porter  atteinte à sa fonction, méconnaître les droits d’un justiciable ?

Les avocats du président Jean Bertrand Aristide renouvellent à la population l’assurance de  leur haute considération."
Categories: Haitian blogs

Harry Numa: 1961-2014

HaitiAnalysis - Sep. 4, 2014 - 7:45 pm
By: Kim Ives - Haiti Liberte
Harry Numa, 52, a long-time leader of the National Popular Assembly (APN) and later the National Popular Party (PPN), died in the early morning hours of Aug. 25 in a tragic car accident in the southwestern Haitian city of Jérémie. His funeral was held and he was buried in Port-au-Prince on Aug. 30.            Born in Port-au-Prince on Aug. 31, 1961, he spent his early years under the dictatorships of François and Jean-Claude Duvalier. “On Rue Sans Fil where he grew up, Harry revealed himself to be a true leader among the youth both through the positions he took and by his serious attitude,” wrote his wife, Lucienne Houanche Irby, in a funeral tribute. “For those who knew him, Harry didn’t joke often. He took everything seriously. Caught up in the socio-political situation of the country, he saw himself as a defender of the weakest and most marginalized.”       In 1980, Harry traveled to New York, where he went to Rockland Community College and worked various jobs. But in 1987, after the fall of the Duvalier dictatorship, he returned to Haiti like many young people to take part in the burgeoning democracy movement and the newly formed National Popular Assembly (APN), a nationwide popular organization which played a key role in contributing to the political rise of Father Jean-Bertrand Aristide in the turbulent post-Duvalier period. Harry also played an important role in the leading leftist weekly of the day, Haïti Progrès.            During the coup d’état of 1991 to 1994, Harry largely stayed in Haiti where he set up a clandestine printing press to put out anti-coup flyers and a special version of Haïti Progrès, which for several months in 1994 was unable to enter Haiti from New York, where it was printed, due to an international embargo which stopped airline flights.
            Harry also helped organize a short-wave radio network for communications within Haiti and with New York and Miami, as well as keeping track of, hiding, and caring for APN militants, many of whom were on the run from, shot at, and beaten up by soldiers and paramilitaries of the military regime.            Harry helped plan and execute one memorable resistance operation in 1993 with his long-time comrade, Georges Honorat, and other APN militants, which involved the felling of trees with chainsaws along the Bourdon road to Pétionville to impede the Haitian army’s troop carriers.            Along with other APN militants, Harry met with the celebrated North American intellectual Noam Chomsky, who traveled to Haiti in 1993 during the coup, to be filmed and interviewed by Crowing Rooster Arts. Harry engaged in a long animated discussion with Chomsky about how to resist the coup, portions which are captured in the feature documentary Rezistans, directed by Katharine Kean.            “Are the Haitian people ready to carry out those actions [of resistance] given the cost they will suffer,” Chomsky asks Harry in one scene.            “We, the Haitian people, have no choice,” Harry replied. “We have to fight, we have to mobilize, we have to organize ourselves to finish with this situation [of the coup]. So that’s the kind of work we are doing right now.”            In 1999, the APN formed itself as a full-fledged political party, the PPN, of which Harry was one of the principal leaders. The party did not field candidates in the 2000 elections but organized several historic marches of thousands of its militants against the U.S. military assault on Iraq in March 2003 and against the unfolding coup d’état against President Aristide from 2001 to 2004.            In 2004, faced with a number of personal problems, Harry stepped down from leadership of the PPN and Haïti Progrès, although he kept close contact with his former comrades and often offered them his penetrating analysis and ready advice.            He moved back to New York, where he met is wife, Lucienne, moved to North Valley Stream, and made a living driving taxi cabs and later as a building contractor.            But his passion was Haitian politics and every Monday or Tuesday he would call Haïti Liberté’s director Berthony Dupont to offer his analysis of the “conjuncture,” as Haitians call the political situation.            “Harry’s insights were always invaluable in analyzing complex situations,” Dupont said. “He knew the players, he understood political theory and dynamics, and he had a deep faith in the power of the Haitian people when organized.”            Harry was shaken by the fatal shooting on Mar. 23, 2013 of his long-time comrade, Georges Honorat, with whom he had strongly argued not to take a job working for Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe’s office. Only a week before his killing by two still unknown gunmen on a motorcycle, Honorat had told Harry that his advice had been right. “My place is not there,” Georges had said, according to Harry.            Before the Cuban Ambassador to the UN Pedro J. Nunez Mosquera came to address a community meeting at Haïti Liberté on May 29, 2010, Harry single-handedly threw himself into repairing and remodeling the newspaper’s meeting room to accommodate the overflow crowd that turned out. He also helped organize the meeting with the Cuban ambassador and always came with his wife to support Haïti Liberté at its fundraising events.            The fatal accident was a freak tragedy. Harry was visiting Jérémie for its annual Saint Louis Festival. Leaving the nightclub Pipirit at about 4 a.m., Harry backed up his white jeep to make way for a passing vehicle. Unfamiliar with the road in the dark, he backed his car over a bank so it fell into a rain-swollen river. Although he may have hit his head, it appears that he may have managed to break the windshield and escape from the submerged vehicle but drowned in the strong and deep currents. His body was not recovered until about seven hours later.            Many comrades from Haiti and progressive parties in the U.S. who had a chance to work with him will miss Harry Numa. We at Haïti Liberté will particularly feel the void, missing his sharp insight and deeply principled politics.            A memorial evening commemorating the life of Harry Numa will be held at Haïti Liberté on Sep. 20 at 6 p.m.. Former friends and comrades are expected to attend from as far away as Canada and Florida. Haïti Liberté extends its condolences to his wife, Lucienne, his children, Kenneth and Sandra Irby, and his brothers, cousins, and many other family members.            Harry, for your life of personal sacrifice and unflagging dedication to the cause of the Haitian people’s liberation from oppression and exploitation, we salute you!

            Harry Numa !presente!
Categories: Haitian blogs

U.S. Haitian Puppet Targets Jean-Bertrand Aristide Yet Again

HaitiAnalysis - Sep. 4, 2014 - 7:43 pm
By: Joe Emersbergerfirst published, in a slightly different version, by Telesur.
No evidence of corruption has ever been found to incriminate the former Haitian leader, who was overthrown by a U.S.-led coup.
Former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide is once again being hounded with bogus corruption allegations by the government of Michel Martelly – a government that owes its existence to U.S. bullying.            I don’t dismiss corruption allegations against any politician lightly – even one the U.S. despises. Reasonable, but uniformed, readers may ask why we can be sure the allegations against Aristide are baseless.            If the facts were widely known about what the U.S. has done in Haiti in recent years, nobody would ask that question. They’d be too busy working for the prosecution of U.S. officials for crimes perpetrated in Haiti. In fact, Canadian, French and United Nations officials would also be struggling to stay out of jail for aiding and abetting those crimes, as I’ve mentioned before.            On Feb. 29, 2004, the U.S. perpetrated a coup against Haiti’s democratically elected government which was headed by Aristide. That’s worth repeating. The U.S. directly perpetrated the coup. It did not simply provide decisive support for a coup carried out by local allies as it has done so many times in Latin America. In this case, U.S. troops physically removed Aristide from Haiti in the middle of the night and flew him off to the Central African Republic. Canadian troops assisted the U.S. by securing the airport in Port-Au-Prince. The U.S. government claims that Aristide begged rescue from a small group of “rebels” even though his own security team could have led him to safety, if that was his priority, in various countries within the Caribbean.  The U.S. and its allies, after its alleged “rescue” of Aristide, took over Haiti and promptly set up a dictatorship under Gérard Latortue. The rebels – essentially led by the death squad leader Jodel Chamblain – were immediately made completely subordinate to the U.S. and its allies. Rebels who objected too strongly to their subordinate role were simply told to get lost and, in a few very isolated cases, hunted down. Hundreds of the more obedient “rebels” were incorporated into a revamped Haitian police force under the close direction of U.S. and UN officials. Yes, criminals were made police under the direction of even bigger criminals in Washington. That’s how our upside down world functions.
            It should be stressed that even those who insist that U.S. troops “rescued” (as opposed to “kidnapped”) Aristide have absolutely no basis for denying that the Washington perpetrated a coup. The U.S. and its allies used the “rebels” as a pretext to forcibly restore its traditional far right allies to dominance in Haiti. Aside from the widely ignored murder of thousands of Aristide’s supporters that took place under Gérard Latortue’s dictatorship, Aristide’s political party (Fanmi Lavalas) has also been banned from participating in elections held since the coup. Latortue stacked the judiciary with people keen to facilitate the persecution of Aristide’s supporters – people with the same mentality as the Martelly-appointed judge who recently issued the arrest warrant against Aristide for allegedly ignoring a summons. And that examining magistrate, Lamarre Bélizaire, is disbarred from acting as a lawyer when he steps down as a judge. So a judge who has been renounced and cast out by the Haitian Bar issued the arrest warrant. That’s perfectly consistent with what the U.S. has established in Haiti.            Part of the U.S.“rescue” of Aristide in 2004 supposedly included a promise to protect his property in Haiti. Colin Powell – the man tasked with lying extravagantly to the world about Iraqi fictitious weapons of mass destruction (WMD) – claimed that the U.S. had made this promise to Aristide. Immediately after the “rescue”, Aristide’s house was ransacked for days thereby exposing Powell, yet again, as a liar.             But there is another consideration that is relevant to the allegations against Aristide. Since 2004, the U.S. and its allies had every opportunity and incentive to build a devastating case against Aristide for corruption or anything else they wanted. They had access to any number of personal and official documents combined with the ability to lean on heavily (bribe and coerce, that is) countless former Aristide associates. The Latortue dictatorship spent a lot of time and money in U.S. courts, and predictably received a great deal of help from U.S. Treasury officials trying to build some kind of case. It speaks volumes that all they’ve been able to charge Aristide with after all these years is what this disbarred judge came up with – allegedly ignoring a summons.            In 2005, Ira Kurzban, Aristides’s attorney in the U.S., has pointed out: “If you recall, a lot of the venom was spewed against President Aristide both before and following the coup - wild accusations that he had $280 million in a bank account somewhere in Europe and so forth. To my understanding, the United States sent seven people from the Treasury Department immediately after the coup to investigate financial wrongdoing, and a number of Haitians have been working day and night to find the money that President supposedly took. But, it’s now obvious, there is none. There are no Swiss bank accounts, no yachts, no Trump Tower apartments, all of which there were with Duvalier. There are none of the things that one classically identifies with the claim that a president has abused his authority and stolen money for his own benefit.”            Lack of evidence never stopped the U.S. from aggressively peddling its claims that Iraqi WMD existed. The case for war depended on it. Evidence and logic were therefore dismissed by both the U.S. government and the corporate media. Similarly in Haiti, the ongoing crushing of democracy requires the relentless demonization of the popular Haitian president whom the U.S. government deposed.
Categories: Haitian blogs

20 years after slaying of Haiti's Jean-Marie Vincent, RNDDH calls for new investigation into crime

Michael Deibert's Haiti Blog - Sep. 2, 2014 - 5:28 pm
Haïti-Justice : Le Rnddh encourage la relance du dossier de l’assassinat du père Jean-Marie Vincent  

mardi 2 septembre 2014    

(Read the original article here)

P-au-P, 2 sept. 2014 [AlterPresse] --- Vingt ans après l’assassinat du père Jean Marie Vincent (28 août 1994-28 août 2014), l’impunité continue de battre son plein surtout en ce qui concerne ce dossier, dénonce le directeur exécutif du Réseau national de défense des droits humains (Rnddh), Pierre Espérance, dans une interview accordée à AlterPresse. 

Encourageant la famille du défunt à engager des avocats pour relancer le dossier, Espérance affirme qu’il existe certaines possibilités pour le faire. 

« Rien n’a été fait dans le cadre de cette affaire. C’est le règne de l’impunité qui continue. Jusqu’à présent, le dossier n’est même pas à la cour de cassation », critique t-il. 

Il rappelle que l’actuel président du Conseil supérieur du pouvoir judiciaire (Cspj), Anel Alexis Joseph, qui était en charge du dossier au niveau de la cour d’appel de Port-au-Prince en 2005, avait décidé de classer le dossier, malgré des contradictions apparues dans les témoignages des personnes inculpées. 

Le directeur exécutif du Rnddh condamne l’arrêt rendu par le juge Arnel Alexis Joseph à la cour d’appel concernant ce dossier et qui comporterait un vice de forme. Ce juge avait fait sortir, dit-il, une « ordonnance intéressée ». 

« Il n’y a jamais eu un procès. Tous les inculpés ont été blanchis dans ce dossier », déplore t-il. 

En vue de commémorer le 20e anniversaire de l’assassinat du père Jean Marie Vincent, un ensemble d’activités dont une exposition et une conférence-débats ont eu lieu à Port-au-Prince pour retracer la vie du prêtre engagé, éducateur et entrepreneur social. 

D’autres activités ont été aussi réalisées à l’échelle nationale et internationale. 

Né le 21 octobre 1945 d’une famille des Baradères, Jean-Marie Vincent a été assassiné à l’âge de 48 ans (28 août 1994) par des hommes armés devant la maison des Pères Montfortains, à la rue Baussan à Port-au-Prince, durant la période du sanglant coup d’État militaire de septembre 1991.[jep emb apr 02/09/2014 12 :10]
Categories: Haitian blogs

discussing all the things you must do or should never do

Livesay Haiti - Sep. 1, 2014 - 4:56 pm
There is no shortage of  instructions on the interweb.In any given month it is quite likely you will be instructed on multiple topics.  The list could include: Ten things not to say to your single friendsFive things Christians should stop sayingTen things for a healthy marriage.Five reasons your teen is rebelling.Those never ending lists just serve to overwhelm me.  Say this. Don’t say this. Do that. NEVER do this.I can barely follow directions. Kraft Mac and Cheese has one step too many for me.There are SO many instructions and they all run together and before I know it I have applied one of the items to the wrong problem.  After reading all those articles I learned that my teen was rebelling because I was too controlling. Somehow I got mixed up and became certain one of the keys to a happier marriage was to be more controlling.As you can see, there is a HUGE margin for error here.
Read the rest of the post at A Life Overseas...*                *                * At the post above, we discuss some ways to deal with trauma. While we were looking back for an old post from the year of the earthquake we came across this fellow sharing his earthquake account ... He is an entirely different big-guy now, we almost did not recognize this little boy...
Categories: Haitian blogs

Interviews with IJDH's Brian Concannon and Haiti Action's Pierre Labossiere on the trumped up charges and character assassination targeting of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide

HaitiAnalysis - Aug. 28, 2014 - 2:33 pm
Flashpoints on Pacifica Radio's Senior Producer Kevin Pina interviews IJDH's Brian Concannon & Haiti Action Committee's Pierre  Labossiere. Listen to the interviews here: http://www.haitiinformationproject.net/blog.php
Categories: Haitian blogs

Stop the attacks on former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and the Lavalas Movement

HaitiAnalysis - Aug. 28, 2014 - 2:28 pm
By: Haiti Action Committee - HaitiSolidarity.Net

      On Aug. 13, the Haitian government summoned former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to court on corruption charges. This summons is part of a chilling pattern of repression aimed at destroying Aristide’s political party, Fanmi Lavalas, as the country approaches new legislative elections. We denounce it in the strongest possible terms.
      On March 18, 2011, tens of thousands of people followed President Aristide’s car as it drove from the airport to his home, following his return from seven years of forced exile. They then climbed over the walls into the courtyard of the Aristides’ residence to continue an emotional and heart-felt greeting for Haiti’s first democratically elected president, overthrown in a U.S.-orchestrated coup in 2004. In his speech at the airport, President Aristide focused on education and the importance of inclusion for all Haitians in the process of restoring democracy.
      Since his return, President Aristide has done exactly what he promised to do – reopen the University of the Aristide Foundation (UNIFA). On Sept. 26, 2011 the Medical School once again opened its doors. Today, there are over 900 students studying medicine, nursing and law at a university whose mission is to provide higher education to all sectors of Haitian society, not just the children of the rich.
     And yet, in spite of this powerful and important work, Aristide and other Lavalas leaders and activists remain the target of government harassment and attack. This is not surprising; after all, the Haitian government of Michel Martelly came to power after elections with a historically low turnout in which Fanmi Lavalas, Haiti’s most popular political party, was banned from participation.
    Martelly has embraced Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, the former Haitian dictator. Human rights organizations estimate that the Duvaliers – “Papa Doc” and “Baby Doc” – were responsible for the deaths of over 30,000 Haitian citizens during their 29-year rule. While Duvalier now lives freely in Haiti and was honored by Martelly at the Jan. 1, 2014, Haitian Independence Day celebrations, President Aristide and the democratic movement are under assault.
    For over a decade, U.S. and Haitian authorities have periodically threatened President Aristide with indictment and “tried” him in the pages of a compliant media. None of these charges has stuck, for the simple reason that they are all lies. This is the third time since his return in 2011 that Haitian authorities have trumpeted charges against President Aristide. Each time, after sensational headlines, the cases were unceremoniously shelved after an initial hearing and interview, before President Aristide could even challenge the accusations.
    The politicized nature of the charges is further evidenced by the history of the judge in the case, Lamarre Bélizaire. The Port-au-Prince Bar Association has suspended Bélizaire for 10 years from the practice of law – the suspension to begin once he steps down as judge – for using the court to persecute opponents of the Martelly regime. This latest summons is one more example of a government determined to derail any opposition.
    Each time these charges are trotted out, the goal is to defame Aristide, weaken Lavalas and endanger the vital educational work that he has led since his return. Haiti’s grassroots movement knows that each new rumored indictment is part of a campaign to intimidate and silence them. When President Aristide was last called to court, thousands of people surrounded the courthouse, chanting: “If they call our brother, they call all of us.” Yesterday, once again, people took to the streets to show him their support.
    We echo their voices. Enough is enough. It is time for education, health care, and democratic development in Haiti, not a resurgence of political repression. We call on the Haitian government to withdraw this warrant.

Revolving door of criminal charges against Aristide in Haiti
    A summons was reportedly issued for former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in Haiti on Tuesday that was said to be related to corruption charges and a litany of well-known accusations for which evidence has never been presented in a court of law. It is part of a long list of charges in the U.S. and in Haiti that regularly appear whenever there are moves towards serious elections. Aristide and his supporters believe this is part of a documented campaign of character assassination against the former president that is designed to exclude the Lavalas party from free and fair elections in Haiti.
    Contact the Haiti Action Committee at www.haitisolidarity.net and on Facebook.
Categories: Haitian blogs

Aristide Warrant and Brandt Prison Break Overshadow Election Derailment

HaitiAnalysis - Aug. 28, 2014 - 2:26 pm
By Kim Ives - Haiti Liberte

Last week, Haitian demonstrators erected barricades of burning tires and car frames in front of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's home in Tabarre to prevent the government of President Michel Martelly from arresting him. On Aug. 12, investigating judge Lamarre Bélizaire had issued a court summons for Aristide to come to his offices for
questioning the next day, Aug. 13. Aristide never received the
last-minute summons which was allegedly left at his gate, according to his lawyer Mario Joseph. Having heard about the summons on the radio, Joseph did show up at the 10 a.m. hearing with a letter explaining that the summons had not been correctly served. Ironically, Judge Bélizaire did not show up for his own hearing but nonetheless later that afternoon issued an arrest warrant for Aristide because of his

Meanwhile, at about 10:30 a.m. on Aug. 10, two vehicles of armed men shot automatic weapons at the outside of the new prison in Croix-des-Bouquets, just north of the capital, precipitating the escape of 329 prisoners. Among them was Clifford Brandt, 42, the scion of a prominent bourgeois family who was jailed in October 2012 (but to date never tried) for heading a kidnapping ring that held hostage the
son and daughter of Haitian banker Robert Moscoso. On Aug. 12, Dominican authorities recaptured Brandt and three other fugitives across the border in the neighboring Dominican Republic and turned them over to Haitian authorities, who tried to take credit for the capture. (The Dominican Defense Minister had to issue a statement setting the record straight.)

These two unfolding dramas, perhaps by design, have all but eclipsed a much more ominous development last week: the cancellation of parliamentary and municipal elections, already two years overdue, which had been promised for Oct. 26. As a result, it is all but certain that another third of the Haitian Senate and many in the House of Deputies will see their terms expire on Jan. 12, 2015, rendering the Parliament nonfunctional and Martelly ruling by decree.

This is exactly where the konpa-singer-turned-president wanted to
arrive. "First thing, after I establish my power, which would be very
strong and necessary, I would close that congress thing," Martelly
told the Miami New Times in a 1997 feature article. ""La chambre des
députés. Le sénat." He claps his hands. "Out of my way.""

These were not jokes. The article made clear that even back then
Martelly was planning a run for president and was "not afraid to
reveal that he has given serious thought to his philosophy of
government," which was essentially a "Fujimori-style solution." Former
Peruvian dictatorial president Alberto Fujimori is presently in
prison, having been convicted of committing major human rights and
corruption crimes during his administration in the 1990s.

Martelly's looming one-man rule marks a sharp political reversal. Last
autumn, massive popular demonstrations, led largely by outspoken Sen.
Moïse Jean-Charles and radical Lavalas base organizations, were
marching almost weekly to demand the resignation of Martelly and his
Prime Minister and business partner Laurent Lamothe and the departure
of the 6,600-soldier United Nations force, acronymed MINUSTAH, which
has militarily occupied Haiti since Jun. 1, 2004.

But in December 2013, Aristide's Lavalas Family party (FL) expelled
Sen. Jean-Charles for criticizing and outshining the party's Executive
Committee, and from January to March 2014, Washington and the Catholic
Church connived with the Martelly government to carry out a charade
conference of national reconciliation, resulting in the "El Rancho
Accord" supposedly putting the country on the road to the Oct. 26
elections. As a result, despite a few sizable marches on symbolic
dates, last year's mobilization began to weaken.

Now from being on the defensive, Martelly is back on the offensive.
"It is not without reason that the puppet judge Lamarre Bélizaire
published a list with the names of [31] people who can't leave the
country a few days before the Martelly-Lamothe-MINUSTAH government
allowed its associate Clifford Brandt to escape from jail," said the
Dessalines Coordination party (KOD) in an Aug. 19 declaration. "They
knew what kind of scandal that would provoke... That may be why they
decided to hatch a plot to issue a warrant for former President
Aristide, as a way to distract the population... That may be why they
created the crisis of Aristide's so-called arrest to cover not only
the illegal liberation of more than 300 bandits, but the CEP
[Provisional Electoral Council] now saying that elections are not
possible this year."

"Instead of the people being mobilized 24/7 to demand the departure of
Martelly, Lamothe, and MINUSTAH, [the regime] is now giving us our
work, making us stand out in Tabarre day and night making sure they
don't arrest Aristide," KOD concluded. "They have now put us on the
defensive so we don't attack them for the crimes they are carrying out
in the country."

On Aug. 18, Dr. Maryse Narcisse, the FL's national coordinator and now
formal presidential candidate, held a press conference at the Aristide
Foundation where she called the attacks against Aristide "maneuvers
and diversions to distract Haitians from the real problems they face
daily." Among these, she included the ever-escalating cost of living,
the eviction of hundreds of families in downtown Port-au-Prince, the
uprooting of farmers on Ile-à-Vache, the disaster in the state exam
results this year, the withholding of elections for 4 years, the
failure of the El Rancho Accord, and the spectacular release of
Clifford Brandt. She said that the latest charges of embezzlement and
drug-trafficking against Aristide, which are drawn from a
long-discredited politically-motivated report by the
Washington-installed de facto government which took power on the heels
of the Feb. 29, 2004 coup against Aristide, were "fabricated in a
laboratory with the participation of a small group of enemies of

"The Lavalas Family continues to demand free, fair, and democratic
elections," Dr. Narcisse concluded, from which the party "will not
allow itself to be excluded," as it has been in all elections over the
past decade.

"The Haitian people do not accept and will never accept a retrograde,
reactionary power, which has issued from the Macoute Duvalierist
ideology, to use the justice system to persecute an honest citizen who
has faithfully put himself at the service of his people," said Lionel
Etienne, an FL Executive Committee member and former deputy. FL
leaders also called for the release of the Martelly regime's political
prisoners like Jean Robert Vincent, Joshua and Enold Florestal, and
Louima Louijuste.

Meanwhile, on Aug. 15, Aristide along with several of his lawyers sent
a long letter to the Organization of American States' Inter-American
Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to lay out numerous reasons why the
legitimacy and "impartiality of Judge Lamarre Bélizaire is far from
established, and the credibility of the judicial system is quite
flawed." The letter called on the IACHR to "urgently adopt
precautionary measures to safeguard the freedom and rights of
President Jean-Bertrand Aristide whose freedom is seriously threatened
by the reckless and arbitrary actions of Judge Lamarre Bélizaire."

In Haiti, Aristide's lawyers have formally asked that Judge Bélizaire
be recused from the case for which he has summoned the former
Categories: Haitian blogs

Kiosks and Kids

Livesay Haiti - Aug. 28, 2014 - 12:47 am
Paige recently spotted an in-the-box, never been used curling iron in my closet. Why don't you use this, Mom? she wondered aloud.

Buyer's remorse.

That curling iron represents weakness and I cannot bring myself to use it.

*         *           *

We were in the USA. Days before Christmas I ran to the mall to buy the last pair of Christmas pajamas before we headed south to my parents' house for the holidays.

I brought Isaac, Hope, and Noah along with me.  'How often do these kids get to shop, or wander around a decorated mall?', I reasoned. 'They should come with me!'

New jammies are the only gift the kids have come to expect every Christmas, but I had not found any for Isaac yet. (Reason being, he has the up-highest butt on the face of this earth and they don't make many clothes for that butt placement.)

I told the kids our mission was to find the P.J's quickly and head to our next errand on the other side of town.

The kiosks in the middle of malls intimidate me.  Those people that sit on the stools at the kiosk know how to sell. They could sell ice to Eskimos, sand to the desert, trees to the forest. They are the super ninjas of sales and I know better than to make eye contact or interact. Head down, eyes cast to the ground, speed walk past all kiosks. That is the modus operendi.  Correction, that is MY modus operendi.

Isaac was doing his Isaac thing, being all friendly and curious and kind.  His face says, "Talk to me, you won't regret it."  When people test his face, they always find it true.  He's the black Buddy the Elf and he slept a full forty minutes last night and had time to build you a rocking horse, too. He loves smiling, it's his favorite.

I was speed walking when a man stepped toward me and said, "Ma'am can I please curl your hair, just have a seat and in three minutes your hair will be transformed by my amazing iron."  I replied with zero warmth in my voice, "Nope, don't have time, I am in a hurry - plus - natural curls, thankyouverymuch."

Isaac and Noah piped in: "We are not in a hurry, Mom. Go for it."  I quickly killed them in my mind a thousand times.  "No, no, we really should keep moving guys", I said.  Isaac said, "Mom, you should get your hair curled. We can wait."  The kiosk ninja sales man grabbed my wrist and accurately read my tattoo. "You're Jewish?" he asked.  No, no I am not Jewish, but yes - you just read the Hebrew on my wrist correctly and yes, you know what it means. Yes, we now have more reasons why I have to have my damn hair curled at a mall kiosk in Waco, Texas.

I sat down, defeated.

For the next fifteen minutes (note: not three minutes, as advertised) my children oohhed and aaahed over my new best friend from Israel's curling expertise.  As it turns out he loves my children and finds them fascinating and says, "Is your husband very VERY dark?"  I don't know what my face does in response to this cockamamie question. Because, Noah and also because, come on, man.  "No, our Dad is white. We are Haitian and we were adopted", Isaac offers.  I catch Hope's eye in time to let her know I think that was a moronic question.  She smiles, entertained by it all.  My new friend says, "Ohhhhhh, I wish you would adopt me!"  I send Hope another unimpressed look. Isaac, ever the gullible go-along-to-get-along kinda guy says, "Could you actually do that, Mom?" No, son.  No. I cannot adopt a 24 year old mall kiosk curling iron salesman from Israel.  Super fun to dream though, isn't it?!?!?

Next thing you know my hair has 148 perfectly defined silky curls, something right out of Hollywood, and that curling iron has been cut in price from $250 to $125 and a bottle of shampoo and conditioner has been added to sweeten the deal and I am saying, "No, no, no, no. I don't want a curling iron!!!"

That is, right up until I somehow got so sick of the entire scene and the way nobody was listening to my "no" and somehow I bought the flipping expensive curling iron that I did not need or want. At all at all.  

My oldest daughter, Britt, has witnessed an occasion where I made a purchase I did not want to make because of a crafty salesperson. She also witnessed me going back into the store fourteen minutes after the purchase to return the item.  Sadly, my shame got the best of me on that particular December day and that curling iron was never returned.

My tattoo is the Hebrew word amets  - essentially it means "to be stout, strong, bold, and alert" - it is most similar to the Middle English word courage ... of which I had none on this particular day.

What I do have, 9 months later, is a very expensive unused curling iron.

Categories: Haitian blogs

Isn't she Lovelie?

Livesay Haiti - Aug. 26, 2014 - 10:23 pm

All the Stevie Wonder fans are swaying in their seats.  
Such a great song.

Lovelie's younger sister, Ketia, gave birth and went through our programs earlier this year.  Ketia was a joy to work with and get to know.   Everything in Haiti is about relationship.  There is an unwritten code that requires that each person look out for their family and close friends.  In this case it meant Ketia telling her big sister Lovelie about the Prenatal Program.   

When Lovelie first came on a Friday to ask to be accepted or put on the wait list, we said, "Sorry, we don't have space."  About six weeks later she came back and asked again.  

The second time around she got a little bit bolder.  Bold is a relative term, the bold I am describing for her is not very bold because she speaks quite softly and is shy by nature. On her second Friday visit Lovelie shared with us that Ketia was her sister and that she had been in a very bad accident in 2013. She lifted her skirt to reveal a significantly damaged right leg.  On that day we took another look at how many women were due in the month of September and decided to make space for one more.

As the story goes, Lovelie was hit by a truck while walking on the side of a street.  She ended up at an MSF (Doctors without Borders) hospital. Initially they sent her away and said she was okay and should go home - but within a day or two it was a major infection and she was admitted to the hospital for months of recovery and skin grafting. Currently her upper right leg is sort of half missing, a giant portion of it - gone.  The bottom of that leg and her foot is quite swollen, possibly being made worse by the weight of her growing baby. Her left leg is not quite as swollen and has scars from the skin grafts. 

The folks that hit her promised to help her, but that never came to be and they stopped returning her calls.

Lovelie is having some trouble with her leg right now. The skin had been completely closed and healed over and it has recently reopened in one place. Her first baby is due in late September.  Dr. Jen consults on all cases that are out of the ordinary and she has a plan to help get that leg healed up quickly, we are grateful for that but also would so appreciate it if those of you that pray  -would please add lovely Lovelie to your prayers.  

Categories: Haitian blogs

Death Squads Sow Terror in Port-au-Prince’s Poor Neighborhoods

HaitiAnalysis - Aug. 26, 2014 - 7:40 pm
By: Isabelle L. Papillon - Haiti Liberte
Some popular neighborhoods around the capital were in turmoil over the past week. Heavily armed government thugs, or “legal bandits” as they are commonly called, wearing pink bracelets sowed panic in the areas of Simon Pelé, Cité Soleil, the Croix-des-Bossales market, and the suburbs south of Port-au-Prince.             This violence comes at a time when the Haitian people are mobilizing against the political persecution which the government of President Michel Martelly and Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe is waging against partisans of its political opposition. The people are also demanding the release of political prisoners such as Jean Robert Vincent, Louima Louis Juste, Jean Matulnès Lamy, and Joshua and Enold Florestal. Progressive political activists rot in prison without trial for years while gang leaders like the kidnapping kingpin Clifford Brandt, Colombian drug-traffickers, and other notorious criminals are released, as was the case when 327 prisoners “escaped,” with the patent collusion of prison authorities, from the modern new prison in Croix-des-Bouquets. Meanwhile, Haitian diaspora visitors and citizens from the United States continue to be victims when arriving on Haitian soil.

            On Wed., Aug. 20 in Cité Soleil, Clifford Charles, a member of the Fanmi Lavalas Political Organization was killed following a demonstration by residents demanding the release of their imprisoned comrade Louima Louis Juste in the National Penitentiary for the past six months for his political opinions. As a leader of the Movement of the Opposition in Cité Soleil (MOPOSS) Louima Louis Juste had been very active at the head of every demonstration demanding the resignation of the reactionary Martelly-Lamothe regime. Another MOPOSS member, Junior Louimé Louis Juste said that Louima's arrest demonstrates how far the neo-Duvalierist Martelly government is willing to go in persecuting its political opponents.             The general coordinator of the Popular Movement of Haiti (MOPHA), Pierre Lemaire, meanwhile points out that the Martelly government has undertaken a propaganda campaign to pretend it is trying to reestablish the rule of law when, in fact, the regime is working to restore a dictatorship in flagrant violation of democratic gains. The proof is everywhere: since the illegal arrival of this regime in power in May 2011, no elections have been held, the municipal administrations throughout the country are led by de facto executive officers appointed by Martelly, the Senate is cut by a third, and the Chamber of Deputies is vassalized as it undertakes its last session, and the negotiations to hold new elections are still deadlocked.            Every day, one sees a terrible political climate emerging which is not conducive to the holding of elections. On Sat., Aug. 23, 2014, the people of the Bélécourt section of Cite Soleil discovered the bodies of five people killed by the “legal bandits,” four boys and a woman. The victims were on their way to where they try to make a living. The residents of Bélécourt point to a man in the area known as “Gabriel,” a gang leader in the Soleil 17 neighborhood, as the person behind the killings. "These crimes were committed by Gabriel, the leader of the Soleil 17 gang,” said one resident. “He works in Cité Soleil for Laurent Lamothe and Michel Martelly. He said he was ordered by the authorities to control Cité Soleil. Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe visited him last week."            On Thu., Aug. 21, in downtown Port-au-Prince at the Croix-des-Bossales market, heavily armed bandits began firing weapons and breaking things. Larger stores were forced to close their doors while small sidewalk merchants were forced to flee, sandwiching buyers in the melee. The panic resulted in an unspecified number of people killed and wounded, according to reports.            On Mon. Aug. 25, lawyers André Michel and Newton Louis Saint-Juste were taken hostage in Petit Goâve at the town’s courthouse by “legal bandits” who are in the pay of the president of the Chamber of Deputies, Stevenson Thimoléon. The lawyers went to Petit Goâve to defend their clients, victims of these bandits. They were attacked by the thugs in the court itself. Officers of the Haitian National Police (PNH) had to intervene to save the lawyers’ lives and escort them from the building.            According to some observers, the climate of panic and political persecution in the capital is being generated purposefully to distract from the brief escape of gang leader Clifford Brandt and the dismal scores students got in state exams despite the government’s incessant propaganda that it is providing free, universal schooling for which $1.50 is arbitrarily levied on international money transfers and 5 cents on each minute of every international telephone call.
            One is also justified in wondering if the surge in violence is the result of the distribution of arms to the “legal bandits”?
Categories: Haitian blogs


Livesay Haiti - Aug. 26, 2014 - 12:43 pm

In so many places throughout the world today there are hurting and frightened people - waiting on justice. 
Pray for them.
If it is all too overwhelming, pick one group/situation ...
and pray.
(Haiti photo quoting MLK Jr.)
Categories: Haitian blogs

look up

Livesay Haiti - Aug. 21, 2014 - 9:31 am

On a recent Sunday morning we were riding to church with a car full of kids.
I had not been particularly upbeat for a few days and that morning was no different.

We were on the main road near our house, we drive on it almost every day of the year.

It was flooded after hard rain and more disgusting than usual.

I was thinking negative thoughts about how gross it looked and how depressing the color of the mud was and how much disease must be in the stagnant water and certainly the least that could be done was for someone to do something about the mounds and mounds of trash spilling into the nasty, smelly, water-filled road. I was feeling sorry for every animal that we passed, every person I could see, myself included.  
The ugliness of poverty was eating me. I was grouchy and angry and down.

From the back seat came the high pitched voice of Lydia saying, "Beautiful BEAUTIFUL ... LOOOOOOK at how beautiful!!!" I turned to look at her because in no way, shape, or form could I find anything in my line of vision that would be labeled 'beautiful'.

Lydie was looking up, pointing above us at a tree in full bloom of red flowers.  She wasn't seeing everything I was seeing.  The only thing that stood out to her in that spot on our familiar road was that the tree had given birth to brand new flowers and she wasn't going to let the rest of us miss it.

I so want Lydia's eyes for beauty.

Look up.

**originally posted summer 2011
Categories: Haitian blogs