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Opposition Parties Denounce Martelly’s Electoral Council

HaitiAnalysis - Jul. 24, 2014 - 5:31 pm

This article explains why elections in Haiti have been delayed so long: After the executive branch stalled for years, President Martelly has appointed an unconstitutional Provisional Electoral Council (CEP), which is biased in his favor.  Opposition parties refuse to accept this CEP. If elections, scheduled for October 26, 2014, don’t occur this year, Martelly will rule by decree.Opposition sides claim Haiti elections jeopardizedAssociated Press, The Washington Post
July 10, 2014

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Leading opposition factions are alleging that Haiti’s presidentially appointed electoral council is stacking the deck in favor of President Michel Martelly, who has scheduled long-delayed legislative and municipal elections for October.Parties complaining of exclusion and unfair advantages include the Unity party of former President Rene Preval and the Lavalas Family founded by former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. They are among the major opposition groups that boycotted election talks earlier in the year and have refused to register with the Provisional Electoral Council, which they contend is rigged.An accord setting Oct. 26 as election day has not been authorized by the Senate, where a group of staunch Martelly opponents argue it is unconstitutional.The electoral council picked by Martelly has only seven of its mandated nine members and its president, Fritzo Canton, is a lawyer who is defending former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier against charges of embezzlement and human rights abuses.
“What Haiti needs is an impartial electoral council that won’t take sides for either the government or the opposition,” said Dieudonne Saincy, Unity’s spokesman. “We are now in a political crisis because this electoral council is entirely under the control of Martelly.”Former Lavalas senator Louis Gerald Gilles asserted that Martelly’s government “is doing everything it can to take over the election process.”Martelly’s administration has brushed off the criticism as the intransigence of his political opponents, some of whom have organized street protests to demand his resignation. Martelly insists he has made several concessions to opponents, including forming a new Cabinet, and has actively tried to make compromises with members of the Senate.Despite pressure from the United Nations, the U.S. and other major supporters of Haiti, previous efforts to hold the legislative and municipal vote over the last couple of years were snarled by political infighting between the executive and legislative branches. In April, Washington warned Haitian authorities that $300 million earmarked for the country’s coast guard, health ministry and various projects was at risk because of the tardy vote.In May, Martelly announced he had appointed a new council to oversee the balloting in Haiti, where elections have never been easy. The Oct. 26 election date was announced in early June, and Martelly said late last month that the Caribbean country was committed to that date.The Organization of American States has said it will provide support. But political observers have expressed skepticism that the elections can take place in late October, and opposition figures are promising a fresh wave of street protests in coming days.The long-overdue elections would fill 20 seats in the 30-member Senate, all 99 seats in the lower chamber and 140 municipal positions. The terms of 10 senatorial seats are due to expire in January, which would leave the body with only 10 senators, not enough for a quorum. If the election isn’t held by then, Martelly would rule by decree.
Categories: Haitian blogs

Follow the new blog Haiti: Then and Now

HaitiAnalysis - Jul. 24, 2014 - 5:30 pm
We suggest to all of our readers to follow the excellent new blog "Haiti: Then and Now".
You can view it here: http://haitithenandnow.blogspot.com
Categories: Haitian blogs

a mid-summer inventory

Livesay Haiti - Jul. 24, 2014 - 9:24 am
As much as we all try to say that we enter into things without expectations, we are all liars.

We always enter in with expectations.  Claiming that you are not, doesn't MEAN you are not.

All that to say, this summer has not been what I said I wasn't expecting.

Troy and I have always mainly assumed one day in the distant future all our kids could be grown ups - maybe married with their own families. 

It seems feasible, yes?  

Believing it is feasible, we spent some time and we thought ahead to what that might look like. We both felt that we would be super exhausted and tired and achy from all the years of trying to get them grown up and gone.   We envisioned a day when we will be all old and shrinky-dink sized and tired  - when we might get a little tiny love-shack apartment in a quiet downtown of some dusty abandoned city to take long naps and blend up our food to make it easier to eat without our teeth. We talked about this time as if it were decades away. 

Ironically, the same season and year that Paige and Michael will make us grandparents, we were visited by a virus that made us old, weak, and fall-asleep-sitting-up-tired.  We can still chew food, but please don't hear me getting pompy and braggadocios about that.  I truly wanted to grow old with Troy, just not so freakin soon.

Sigh.   Becuase there has been so much illness, our summer hasn't been an epic family adventure like I had hoped.

The time with Michael and Paige here in Haiti has flown by and is already on the winding down side.  June was obliterated by Chikungunya. As a result we moved Paige's travel back a week and cut seven precious days from our time with her.  July was then obliterated by the respiratory virus that came to crush us while we were down. We took turns with high fevers, coughing, and putting on sleep clinics. One night I ran a 14 hour clinic.  Who sleeps for 14 hours in loud, bright, Haiti?!?! An old granny, that's who.

SOMEHOW both Paige and Michael are STILL healthy.  Neither of them has fallen to mosquito-borne OR other-borne viruses and they may actually escape the island in the same or better condition than they arrived.

I think we ALL felt nervous about getting to know one another in Haiti this summer.  
Troy and I wanted to see Paige and Michael together and have peace.  We wanted to see if they handled stress well and if they were kind to one another. Michael wanted to be loved and accepted by Paige's people.  Paige wanted our approval. The kids wanted to know that their much adored big sister was going to be okay and still be theirs.  We entered into this summer with a fair amount of trepidation for sure.

I have loved watching the kids get to know Michael and decide what they think of him.  The biggest challenge Michael faced was always going to be Noah and Phoebe. Noah, because he thinks Paige belongs to him.  Phoebe, because she just doesn't give a damn about getting to know anyone.

I think he has won everyone over. Even the two difficult ones.

A week or two ago we were talking about the future and probable wedding plans.

Noah got all wistful and said, "I wish I could walk Paige down the alley."  

The nut. He is more than welcome to walk her down any alley he would like.  

As he was listening in on the discussion he said, "I'll tell you right now where NOT to get married.   Honduras.  They are fighting private wars there."

(????)  No idea.  He says things that make sense to him.

So, fine.  The wedding will not take place in Honduras. 

We are watching Paige's cute tummy grow and we are watching she and Michael make big decisions and plans.  We are seeing their hearts and desires and hopes and dreams and we want to support them in all the ways we can. 

We have ONE week left with both of them here in Haiti and we are taking our jointritis pills, gathering up the memories of our spry/younger Chikun-free days, and taking them to do some fun Haiti things with our last full week together on the island.  If the summer failed to meet expectation, maybe the last week will not.

~          ~           ~    

Jimmy and Becky also had a way different summer than they originally planned. Chikungunya kept Becky and the girls in the USA a bit longer. We were all hoping to help Becky not get it in her first trimester.  Also, in case you missed that: The Burtons are EXPECTING number 3 in December!!! They are back in Haiti now and planning to begin their fourth year teaching  -  we are just ridiculously blessed to have them teaching our kids.

An entirely random collection of photos and explanations from past 30 days:

Hope got braces on her top teeth, Noah is up next, this fall.

all the June and July babies have arrived, we expect a little week or two break from births now
Chestnut has no nuts anymore, the boys watched him get fixed and were offered his nuts in a jar.
Because, Haiti.
an out to eat night with the whole crew (sweatshirts for the airconditioned room)
My friend, Dieula, from Dallas (via Haiti) visited and taught at the Maternity Center
 - she brought such an important message.Rebecca came to show us her report card. This young woman is overcoming.
(I hope to write more about what happened the day she visited.)
Heading to "camp" at school (they have had special four day camps for several weeks this summer)
At the end of each Haiti day, Paige and Michael have a little break-down-the-day session.

Remember the teen Moms home?  Joanne and Ricardo are doing great, they came to visit.
Ricardo hates us but we accept it. It has been so hot, Troy finds a way to sleep in a 93 degree room.
Lydia and I made a bedroom outside on the porch. I will never sleep inside again.One beach day down, hoping for one more before they go.
Categories: Haitian blogs

in need ...

Livesay Haiti - Jul. 23, 2014 - 5:57 pm

Discouragement comes in the form of illness, fatigue, and "failure" to accomplish what we hope. It comes from women that don't immediately have a heart of fierce love or protection for their little ones, or stories of rape, abuse, hunger and homelessness.

Sometimes it comes in all the forms in quick succession.

When the discouraging stuff piles up enough that you find out you've lost your joy or your hope or simply just your remembrance of the good things - we all need a giant pause button, reminders of triumph,  renewed prayers, and a review of God's faithfulness to us in the past.

If you are feeling like this too, if you are missing your usual hopeful outlook or joyful attitude ...
Pray that love catches you unaware and lights the dark (and hidden) corners of your heart and ask Jesus that we all quickly be brought face to face with a beauty and a joy that takes our breath away and calms our doubts. 
Categories: Haitian blogs

Maryse Narcisse "imposed" on Aristide's Lavalas by US Embassy, USAID, says oft-ranting Haiti Senator Moïse Jean-Charles

Michael Deibert's Haiti Blog - Jul. 17, 2014 - 11:13 am
Maryse Narcisse imposée à Aristide comme candidate à la présidence par l’Ambassade US et l’USAID, selon le sénateur Moïse Jean-Charles  

Aristide, sous contrôle des impérialistes, ne peut rien faire pour des candidats, ajoute le parlementaire 

Publié le mercredi 16 juillet 2014

Radio Kiskeya

(Read original article here)

« C’est l’Ambassade américaine et l’USAID qui ont imposé Mme Maryse Narcisse à l’ancien président Jean-Bertrand Aristide comme candidate à la présidence en 2015 », a déclaré mercredi le sénateur Moïse Jean Charles (Nord), en réaction à ce choix annoncé officiellement mardi par des dirigeants Lavalas.

« Jean-Bertrand Aristide étant sous contrôle des pays impérialistes, il ne pourra rien faire pour un quelconque candidat aux prochaines élections », a ajouté le parlementaire. Il appelle de ce fait ceux qui cherchent à bénéficier du support de l’ancien président à le laisser en paix.

Sur un autre plan, Moïse Jean-Charles considère que la précipitation de Fanmi Lavalas à désigner une candidate à la présidence participe d’un plan visant à déstabiliser l’opposition au pouvoir Martelly/Lamothe. Il annonce que, de concert avec de nombreuses personnes éprises de l’idéal du 16 décembre 1990, il œuvre à la formation d’une large plateforme électorale.

En ce qui concerne la visite au pays du secrétaire général des Nations Unies, Ban Ki moon, Moïse Jean-Charles soutient qu’elle résulte des pressions exercées sur le Conseil de Sécurité par des pays prêts à opérer le retrait de leurs troupes de la mission onusienne présente en Haïti. Ce serait en vue de discuter de la question avec les autorités haïtiennes que le numéro 1 de l’ONU a effectué le voyage, avance Jean-Charles. Il réaffirme sa détermination à œuvrer en faveur du retrait de l’ensemble de la mission.

Il dénonce enfin la révocation par le chef du gouvernement du secrétaire d’Etat à l’Economie Alfred Métellus sous prétexte qu’il lui aurait fait part du projet du gouvernement d’augmenter les prix des produits pétroliers et le détournement de 300 millions de dollars par le premier ministre Laurent Lamothe, une somme qui était destinée à des compagnies en charge de travaux d’infrastructure. Le parlementaire affirme n’avoir jamais rencontré M. Métellus. Il le reconnait tout de même comme un cadre important de l’administration publique. [jmd/RK]
Categories: Haitian blogs

IPS: Harkening Back to Dark Days in Haiti

HaitiAnalysis - Jul. 16, 2014 - 1:52 pm
Analysis by Nathalie Baptiste - Inter Press Service

WASHINGTON, Mar 12 2014 (IPS) - On Oct. 16, 1993, Alerte Belance was abducted from her home and taken to Titanyen, a small seaside village used by Haiti’s rulers as a mass grave for political opponents. There she received machete chops to her face, neck, and extremities. Despite her grave injuries, Belance was able to save herself by dragging her mutilated body onto the street and asking for help.

Belance’s survival was extraordinary, but not all were so lucky.
On Jan. 18, 1994, Wilner Elie, a member of the Papaye Peasant Movement, was knifed to death by a group of masked men in his own home. His 12 children were handcuffed by the assailants and forced to watch helplessly as their father was brutally murdered.Elie and Belance’s tragic stories were not anomalies. Not long ago in Port-au-Prince, decapitated bodies littered the streets, warnings to would-be dissidents. Violent men sexually abused young women seemingly for sport.People were ambushed in their homes and shot to death for attempting to escape. Thousands of Haitians fled in shoddy boats through treacherous waters to the United States, only to be sent back despite outcries from human rights groups.Though it reads like a horror script or dystopian novel, this is not fiction. This was reality for millions of Haitians living under military rule. And now, as the Haitian government moves to rebuild its once-banished army, some Haitians are wondering whether a sequel is in the works.

A dark legacyHaiti has a lengthy history of military and state-sanctioned violence. Shortly after coming to power in 1957, the infamous dictator Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier, feeling threatened by the regular armed forces, created a paramilitary force to protect himself.Nicknamed the Tonton Macoutes (Uncle Gunnysacks) after an old tale about a bogeyman who abducted unruly children and placed them in gunnysacks to be eaten at breakfast, these men carried out unimaginable murders and sent tremors of fear throughout the nation.Accountable to virtually no one, they continued their reign of terror after Papa Doc’s death and through the rule of his successor and son, Jean Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier. After Baby Doc was forced to flee in 1986, the Tonton Macoutes were officially disbanded, but other paramilitaries continued in their footsteps.Meanwhile the military itself continued to interfere in Haiti’s politics. On Sep. 29, 1991, Jean Betrand-Aristide, Haiti’s first democratically elected president, was ousted by a military coup just eight months into his presidency.The coup, led by Lieutenant General Raoul Cedras, plunged the nation into a particularly violent and turbulent period. For three years the Haitian military and its paramilitary arm, the Front for the Advancement and Progress of Haiti, ran an exceptionally brutal regime, kidnapping, torturing, and murdering supporters of the ousted Aristide. By 1994, the death toll had reached an estimated 5,000.Following an intervention by the United States, Aristide was restored to power in late 1994 on condition that he implement economic reforms favored by Washington. He dismantled the military the following year. The disbandment of the military did not cure Haiti of all its ills, but the dissolution was followed by three successful transitions of presidential power – in 1996, 2000, and later in 2010.In 2004, however, a paramilitary force consisting of former soldiers with help from United States, France, and Canada organised a second successful coup against Aristide, who had been elected to a second term in 2000 after serving out his first in 1996. Even after their official disbandment, former soldiers were still able to influence political outcomes in Haiti.A return to formAnd now, after two decades in the shadows, the military is back: Haitian President Michel Martelly has followed through on a campaign promise to reconstitute the Haitian military. The new force launched its first operations this February.This has left many Haitians wondering why a country with no external threats, a history of violent, military-led repression against its own citizens, and an abundance of more pressing problems would need—or even want—a new military. “Given the history of Haiti’s military,” warned Mark Weisbrot, its “existence alone could be considered a threat to security.”Martelly’s personal history provides some clues about his own sympathies. Before he began his political career, Michel Martelly was a provocative konpa singer who went by the name Sweet Micky. During the Duvalier era, he ran a nightclub named Garage that was frequented by military officials and other members of Haiti’s tiny elite.Around this time Martelly befriended Lieutenant Colonel Michel Francois, the man who would later become chief of the secret police under Raoul Cedras. Martelly remained a “favourite” of the thugs who worked for the Duvalier regime and, after its collapse, would even accompany the death squads organised by Francois to murder Aristide supporters.While death squads hunted dissidents by night, Martelly taunted them by day. Lavalas, the massive pro-democracy movement launched by Aristide after Baby Doc was ousted, quickly became the target of Martelly’s biting lyrics. Throughout Aristide’s presidency, Martelly remained an outspoken critic of the president and his supporters, eventually emerging as a politician in his own right.After a hotly contested and controversial election in 2011, Martelly was elected president of Haiti. Later that year, an anonymous Haitian official leaked a document to the Associated Press outlining a plan for the revival of the Haitian military.Solving the wrong problemsThe document cited several reasons why Haiti supposedly needs to spend 95 million dollars building up a new military force: to provide opportunities for young people, to rebuild Haiti’s infrastructure, to patrol its border with the Dominican Republic, and – perhaps most ominously – to “keep order” during times of chaos.Although Haiti is well within its rights to establish an army, the purpose of a military is not to provide internal security, but to combat external threats. A Haitian official claims that it’s embarrassing to have the United Nations providing security in Haiti.But although its mission in Haiti has been marred by scandal, the U.N. is training a national police force to provide security and keep order once the peacekeepers finally leave. It’s unclear why a military would be preferable in this regard to a civilian security force.And it’s similarly unclear why Martelly thinks he needs to build a military to create jobs or invest in infrastructure. Haiti is in desperate need of construction workers – even before the 2010 earthquake leveled buildings and destroyed homes, Haiti’s infrastructure was already in a precarious position.If Martelly truly wanted to provide opportunities for the young people of Haiti, he could initiate a programme that would train men and women in construction and create jobs for the multitudes of unemployed Haitians. Instead, the new military will supposedly be rebuilding the country while millions of Haitians continue to languish in poverty.In a country with a sparse amount of cash and a government unable to provide even the most basic necessities to its own population, it seems fiscally irresponsible and morally bankrupt to spend 95 million dollars on rebuilding an army that has such an atrocious record of human rights abuses.The cholera outbreak, food insecurity, and the 500,000 squatters lacking permanent homes are just a few of the litany of problems facing Haiti today. The lack of a military force is not high on that list of priorities.Although Haiti’s elite and powerful seem to support the new military, a poll conducted over five years found that fully 96 percent of Haitians oppose its recreation. Defying the widespread opposition and pressing need for other development projects, Michel Martelly’s plan has finally come to fruition.Despite assurances from officials that this military force will not have the means to imitate its predecessors, the horrors from the recent past still linger in the minds of those who remember. If history repeats itself like it is prone to do, Haiti could revert back to the days where standing on the wrong side of the ideological fence means certain death.Nathalie Baptiste is a Haitian-American contributor to Foreign Policy In Focus who lives in the Washington, D.C. area. She holds a BA and MA in International Studies and writes about Latin America and the Caribbean. You can follow her on Twitter at @nhbaptiste. This article originally appeared on Foreign Policy in Focus.
Categories: Haitian blogs

Our eyes are open, but do we see?

Livesay Haiti - Jul. 15, 2014 - 10:06 pm

I learned a while back that kids that grow up abroad can grow up with an entirely different experience than their parents.  They can and do observe and participate in the culture in their own separate and unique ways. 

An expat friend of ours tells a story of teaching a class at a school where many wealthy kids attend. He asks the class, "What is it you would like to be able to see or do in your life?"  The high-school kids talk and name a few things. One boy says, "I would really like to visit a poor country some day."

The school he attends where this question was posed, is located in Port au Prince, Haiti.

That student wants to visit a poor country.

*        *         * 

Our son Isaac is many things.  He is an optimist on steroids and cotton candy on a sunny day at Disney World. When the clouds do roll in, his clouds drop gumdrops instead of raindrops and it only serves to make him even cheerier.  

His favorite word? 
He sees life as wonderful. He rarely says things are "okay". His world has little room for "fine" - he likes it all to be "epic". He views things through his lens and doesn't necessarily willingly allow any other views to enter in.  

*         *          * 

We all went together one day recently to drop a woman off at her home.  She had delivered her baby at the Maternity Center and spent a couple of days recovering and bonding with her third child.

We piled in and headed northwest up the coast line and out of Port au Prince. We wound back into the hills in an area where many pathetic little structures are called "home".  As we parked the truck to walk down a hill to the house, I said, "Come on everybody, lets all walk Yveta home".  

When we neared the house, Isaac hung back --- The home was made of tarps and sticks and wood. No metal walls, no cement walls. It sits on a hill, with an uneven dirt floor. The bed is not a bed at all. It is a mat on the ground with bedding on it.

I prompted, "Kids, come with me. Let's visit their home. Let's pray for them."  I ask Isaac to pray in English first, promising to pray in Kreyol after him.  

He begins his prayer in his typical sunshine, rainbows, and unicorns fashion, "Dear God thank you for this WONDERFUL family. These wonderful people.  The wonderful" ....  his voice trails off. 

I open my eyes and say, "It is okay, buddy, not everything here is wonderful - keep going."  

He thanks God for the "wonderful new baby" and the blessing of said baby. 

He says Amen.

I pray. 

We say our goodbyes. 

We hike back up the hill toward our truck. 

"Thank-you, Isaac, for coming in the house to pray. That was kind of you", I say.  

Isaac replies, "It was hard to know what to say."

He is right, of course.  It is hard to know what to say.  It is hard to know what to do.  It is hard to keep from looking away.

*        *         * 

The materially poor, the marginalized and exploited are the ones we want to be especially sure to listen to, SEE, know, learn from, visit, and love. 

Cornel West is onto something when he says, "Never forget, justice is what love looks like in public." 

Later that day I pulled the three bigger kids in for a quick huddle. I explain that we can live right in the middle of things that are difficult and challenging without ever really seeing the very people that are daily living the things that are difficult and challenging.  

I explain that getting in our truck and driving to and from school is not real life in Haiti. 

I tell them that it is very important to me that they see people and by seeing them they come to care and by caring they one day want to act and by acting maybe their love will bring about justice.  

I remind them, and myself, of all of this. 

They listen closely and they nod. 

Later I watch them playing together and I think, even when our eyes are open, we still need help to see.

Categories: Haitian blogs

Haiti: A U.N. Cholera ‘Pilgrimage’

New York Times on Haiti - Jul. 15, 2014 - 12:00 am
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations visited Haiti on Monday and sought to assure Haitians that he was committed to ending a cholera epidemic “as quickly as possible,” but he did not acknowledge his organization’s possible...
Categories: Haitian blogs

(it is never about) the effing chicken sandwich

Livesay Haiti - Jul. 14, 2014 - 3:09 pm
This post is about marriage and parenting. I am no expert at either thing, but since 1990 I've been learning the hard way almost everyday. Two decades in the school of learning by force and failure (formerly known as the school of hard-knocks) have taught me a few lessons. Do with them as you will. 

** ** **
"Eeeewwww, SICK, they are kissing again you guys, DON'T LOOK."

A few hours later, as Lydia enters the kitchen but has not yet rounded the corner where we will come into her line of view, she makes our one syllable names into two, "Mooooom-mm and Da-aaad, you better not be kisssss-ing in there."

This is a game the youngest one plays frequently at our house.

It is a game of pretending she abhors her parents showing any love or affection toward one another. She fools no one, especially not us. She begs for more by declaring frequently how much she cannot stand to see it and how sick we are.

There are not many things that make kids feel more secure than parents that love one another. Children are reassured when they see their parents communicating well, getting along, loving one another, and maybe even grabbing a kiss or a squeeze when possible. (Case and point, that photo was taken in 2010 when Paige said, will you guys please let me take some lovey photos of you?) 

The temperatures in our home seem to keep us from long embraces or any all out kitchen mack-fests. It is totally fine though, because our kids are sufficiently grossed out by the short (hot weather variety) of marital flirting. 

The number one question asked by friends that visit Haiti for the first time... "It is SO hot and tiring here. We are hot. We are tired. We don't even want to be touching pinkies. Soooooo, like, how do you guys ever, you know ... (trail off while raising eyebrow)?" That is an excellent question. One that only the very brave ask, but I digress. This is not about getting it on in hot climates. This is about marriage and parenting - or more precisely - our kids watching our marriages.

We have learned over the years that any tension between us is quickly noticed by our kids. They get nervous and weird when they sense we are shorter tempered with one another or not working together well.  

Whatever security they feel when they see us hugging in the kitchen, quickly diminishes when they hear us speak sharply to each other. 

If kids feel secure when their parents are best friends that show one another respect and affection, what about when kids see their parents fight? 

It is unrealistic to think they won't see us fight on occasion. Stress happens. Life is tense. People that live in my house are annoying together get annoyed.  

What are we teaching our kids by the way we have conflicts with one another? How can we have conflict that teaches something? There must be ways we can make our children feel secure even in the midst of conflict. Surely we can teach them that it doesn't have to end badly.

Any person in a long term relationship knows that one of the biggest mistakes we can make is to allow resentment over unmet expectations or small things to pile up.  

Instead of showing our kids how we fight about something that has nothing to do with the real issue, we hope to be honest and talk about things as they come up.  

When we do things that disappoint one another, we can chose to deal on the spot, trying not to get to the point where we are fighting about something dumb and unrelated because we've been simmering in resentment sauce for weeks or months.

My kids can hear me say, "You never do what you say you will do, you always put work stuff first", followed by a list of things that aren't the real thing and don't express the deeper feelings underneath - OR - my kids can hear me say, "I feel sad and disappointed that we had planned a beach day and now we can't go - I was so looking forward to time with you".  

It is less disrespectful to their Dad and it expresses my exact feelings without attacking him as a person. (I'm not saying how often I get this right. I'm just saying, I know which one is right.)

My job calls for a very flexible family. I feel bad about it, but it is a fact of midwifery that will not change. Sometimes I have just promised to watch a movie or go somewhere fun with the family when my phone rings and it is time to grab scrubs and run out the door. 

I want to teach my kids that they don't have to stay quiet and let their annoyance (and hurt feelings) go unspoken. I want them to have seen that it is safe to say, "I am so hurt that you promised us a fun day and now you have to go to work."  Even if I cannot do anything to change the situation and stay home or keep my promise, I want them to know that expression of disappointment or hurt in the moment it happens is a good and healthy thing. Resentment and letting it grow are the opposite.

** ** **
It surprises me how much I remember from when I was a kid. I remember my parents being super lovey dovey at times. (Oh my goodness! Vivid memory of one family vacation in a hotel in TN where they utterly and completely misunderstood what our sleeping breathing patterns sound like! Trauma!!) I also remember when things got tense for a couple years. 

During the years that there was a lot of change, transition, and financial stress, I remember them fighting. The most memorable fight for me was the fight we all call "the effing chicken sandwich fight".  

All kids remember the first time they hear a parent drop a loud and angry F bomb. 

That particular epic fight happened when I was probably 11 or 12 years old. I can tell you where I was when I was listening to it and everyone in my family knows right now exactly which story I'm going to tell.

My little sister and I were downstairs in our bedroom when voices were raised to a level we could clearly hear from the bedroom above us.  There was stress about money and how to spend it and how to be careful with it and Mom was mad that Dad had taken us to Burger King for dinner instead of saving the money and just eating at home.  Something was said about allowing us to order off the expensive adult menu and back and forth it went. Finally my Dad snapped and yelled, "If they want a ___ing chicken sandwich, they can have a ___ing chicken sandwich!!!"  (Our four blue eyes popped out of our heads in unison! Did he just say that!?!?) Then he threw his keys at the wall and the keys hit the baby picture of me (my sister has always been their favorite) and the glass shattered in the frame. Then I think he left for a while.

It is hilarious now; we love ourselves an effing chicken sandwich whenever we can get one.

Of course the fight was not really about Burger King or what we ordered. Most angry words come from a place of fear and wanting to have control in order to feel less afraid. Because money was tight Mom was trying to control things and having control over things helped her feel less afraid about money and the future.

We all have those fights; the ones that later kind of make you laugh because in hindsight it is easy to see where you veered waaaaay off the path.

So much of parenting is about letting kids see adults work out problems and frustrations in a way that models love and open/honest communication.  I cannot expect Lydia and Phoebe to stick to their "I" statements and talk to one another about their feelings during a conflict if I have spent the week doing the opposite when communicating with their Dad. 

Categories: Haitian blogs

we've fallen and we can't get up: a chikungunya update

Livesay Haiti - Jul. 9, 2014 - 10:05 am
Life is a crazy and unpredictable adventure.

Anyone that has lived more than seven minutes knows this.

One minute you're clicking along doing your thing, planning your work and working your plan. 
The next minute you're down on the ground, flipped on your head, wondering what in the hellio just happened.
Suffice it to say, every single one of us really likes the part of life where we feel like we are making plans and advancing said plans.  
Nobody wants to feel stuck in a cruddy place without answers and advancement.  
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, after all.
   *                *               *
I truly cannot fathom the evil being that came up with the bizzaro virus called Chikungunya.  Having experienced Dengue and Malaria,  it seems we've finally found something more difficult than both of those, but only because those two go away. 
Who has ever heard of a virus that comes back to ruin your fingers and wrists and other choice joints many weeks after it first came to take you out for a few days? 
The CDC and all the other fancy epidemiologists and smarties out there have some work to do.  The websites and published information all claim things like this:
Remission and long-term effectsThe clinical symptoms of chikungunya usually disappear relatively quickly – patients tend to recover from the fever and rashes associated with the disease within a few days, but joint problems can persist for several weeks. Infection by the chikungunya virus does not seem to have been the direct cause of the small number of fatalities recorded during epidemics.

Joint pain can persist in subacute or chronic form for several months or even years, particularly in older patients. In a retrospective South African study, 10% of patients were still affected 3 to 5 years after acute infection by the chikungunya virus.

What is "older" in this case?  I think we need some further definition.  Who are these "old" people in South Africa? 
If my hands are not going to work for three to five years, I'm gonna need a psychologist with an arsenal of anti-depressants down here stat. 
Right now, it seems "older" is anyone over fifteen. I have a 24 year old friend with chronic pain.  I have a 39 year old husband who cannot play his guitar.  Our 61 year old boss is an utter wreck. I have hands that cannot easily do many midwifery functions. 
Our fingers are swollen like Kielbasa sausages and bending them is our daily challenge.  The wedding ring had to come off and putting back on seems like a lofty goal. 
At the painful typing of this rant, every person that I know (Haitian, American, Canadian, and Australian) that had the acute stage of the virus 3 to 8 weeks ago, have had chronic pain in at least a few joints. I don't know if you call it debilitating if you keep going while in pain, but it is important that we come up with the word that means it is very bad but we are marching onward. 
Paige observed, "Wow. In my whole life I have never been awake more than you and Dad. I don't believe this."  Chik V makes busy adults sleep more than teenagers. 
Lest you think there is no point to my gripe, let me get to my point.
My point:
This virus is a beast. If you can avoid it, we vote you do that.  A one week trip to Haiti (in our opinion, and this is only our opinion) is not worth weeks and weeks (and dear GOD PLEASE FORBID, months and years) of pain and fatigue. If and when you come here, be insane about your bug spray. Don't bring any crunchy, earthy, deet-free lavender concoction.  Bring the highest DEET content you can find and make it your job to use every drop you bring. 
Our daughter and her boyfriend are currently kicking butt at that job. Half way through their time in Haiti and both are ChikV free.  It's a good thing too, because we need to sleep in while they take care of these kids. 
Categories: Haitian blogs

3 Homecomings, Madi nan Ayiti (Tuesday in Haiti)

Livesay Haiti - Jul. 8, 2014 - 6:24 pm
Jacqueline & Family with newborn baby girl, Esther
Andrena and the Francois Family with newborn baby, Michelet Lovelie (right) with her Mom, Grandma, and newborn son, Beaconlove, being held by Gran

The "Postpartum wing" (fancy terminology for a couple of beds and a table in room unattached to the Maternity Center) cleared almost all the way out today. Three of four new Moms went home this afternoon. 

Only Guerda and tiny Sophonie remain (for now). They are doing great, by the way.

We all loaded into the wonderfully reliable ambulance (best purchase ever - thank you donors!) and headed toward Jacquline's house first.  Jacqueline delivered on Saturday. Her husband was excited to see her and was sure to say "gracias" to us many times  - even though we all speak Kreyol, not Spanish. 

Next we went to Andrena's house. She delivered Sunday evening. The soccer game was about to start so we quickly took photos so that Andrena's husband could get back to the television.  Andrena's elderly mother was there to greet us too. She told us she had 10 children in her life. 3 that have died and 7 living. She was wonderfully cute.

After we left Andrena's house, we went several miles to drop Lovelie off at home. She lives in a wood pre-fab house that was put up after the earthquake as "temporary" shelter. She lives with her young mother and grandmother. She has done a great job nursing her son for his first 9 days of life and seemed ready to go home.  

We will see all of these ladies and babies again next Tuesday when they come for class. 

Your gifts, your generosity, your prayers (please please continue) help these women have a safe birth in a place where they are treated with love and respect. They are given the time to bond, begin breastfeeding, and recover, before they head back to the daily grind of life in Haiti. 

We are thrilled that they have this unique opportunity to be cared for, pampered, and loved.  Every women deserves this. 

Andrena, her mother, newborn son named Michelet 
Categories: Haitian blogs

Martelly Regime Targets KOD’s Oxygène David

HaitiAnalysis - Jul. 7, 2014 - 10:25 pm
by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)
According to several radio stations in Haiti, there is a warrant for the arrest of Oxygène David, a prominent leader of the party Dessalines Coordination (KOD) and the popular organization Movement for Liberty and Equality of Haitians for Fraternity (MOLEGHAF).            While Oxygène’s lawyer, Mario Joseph, is trying to verify at the courthouse if there is indeed a complaint against Oxygène or if an investigating judge may have issued an arrest warrant, KOD put out a statement on Jun. 25 informing human rights groups and the public that “Oxygène David has had to go into hiding because the Martelly-Lamothe government wants to intimidate him” because of his political mobilization “calling for the resignation of Martelly and Lamothe and the departure of MINUSTAH,” the UN’s 6,600-soldier military occupation force.
            Many speculate that talk of an arrest warrant for Oxygène may well be targeted to the fact that “on Sunday Jun. 8, KOD and MOLEGHAF members in Fort National prevented, through their mobilization, the Martelly cortege from distributing Brazil and Argentina T-shirts in this poor neighborhood [of the capital] which was heavily damaged by the 2010 earthquake and whose earmarked reconstruction funds have been plundered by the gangs in power,” said the KOD statement.            The statement goes on to specify that large SUVs, some marked “Police” but without license plates, were slowly cruising through Fort National, where Oxygène David lives, all during the night of Jun. 23. “Since the opening of the World Cup in Brazil, one has seen each evening an increase in fixed posts and mobile patrols of masked men driving in vehicles with blackened glass and without license plates,” the KOD statement says.            Lawyer Newton St. Juste also put out a similar statement warning about the targeting of Oxygène David. Both St. Juste and KOD said that other targeted militants include James Samuel Jean, Fritz Robert, and Adelson Voyard.            In the summer of 2012, the Martelly government imprisoned Oxygène for over two months. “Oxygène was charged with vandalism of a white Nissan SUV belonging to the executive of Haiti's telecommunications bureau, CONATEL,” reported Meena Jagannath of the Dissident Voice. “However, while the charges indicated Oxygene smashed a window of the car with a rock during the protest, Oxygene maintained that he never saw the car described in the complaint. The police simply arrived and singled him out without reason,” but “it became evident that there was no evidence to support the charges against Oxygène,” who was released on Aug. 30, 2012.            Jagannath also reports that “in an interview after his release, Oxygène said that he had received a warning before his arrest from a Martelly supporter who urged Oxygène to be prudent because he would be imprisoned if he did not stop protesting against the Martelly government's policies. Oxygène mentioned that while in prison, he was offered his release if he accepted a position in the Martelly government.” Oxygène refused the deal, preferring to stay in prison “a long, long time” if necessary.            “As the people’s mobilization grows, we are seeing the teeth and claws of the Martelly regime coming out more and more,” Oxgène David told Haïti Liberté. “From Cap Haïtien to Ile à Vache, people are protesting against the regime. That is why it is important to build a fighting organization like KOD. A structured organization is essential to not only lead the masses in struggle, but to withstand the counterattack and repression that we know will inevitably come.”

Categories: Haitian blogs

Revolution vs. Counter-Revolution

HaitiAnalysis - Jul. 7, 2014 - 10:23 pm
by Berthony Dupont (Haiti Liberte)
This week, the United States of America will celebrate the 238th anniversary of its Declaration of Independence. “On July 4th, 1776, a small band of patriots declared that we were a people created equal, free to think and worship and live as we please, that our destiny would not be determined for us, it would be determined by us,” said U.S. President Barack Obama at a White House ceremony last year. “At that time in human history, it was kings and princes and emperors who made decisions. But those patriots knew there was a better way of doing things, that freedom was possible, and that to achieve their freedom, they’d be willing to lay down their lives, their fortune and their honor. And so they fought a revolution.”            This is the misleading version of United States history that every American school-child learns. But this myth has been exploded by historian Gerald Horne with his new book “The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America,” published two months ago by New York University Press.
            “We should understand that July 4th, 1776, in many ways, represents a counterrevolution,” Dr. Horne explained in an interview about the book on Jun. 27 with the program Democracy Now. “That is to say that what helped to prompt July 4th, 1776, was the perception amongst European settlers on the North American mainland that London was moving rapidly towards abolition. This perception was prompted by the ‘Somerset’s case,’ a case decided in London in June 1772 which seemed to suggest that abolition, which was going to be ratified in London itself, was going to cross the Atlantic and basically sweep through the [North American] mainland, thereby jeopardizing numerous fortunes, not only based upon slavery, but the slave trade.”            It has often been noted that the “unalienable Rights” of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” demanded by the slave-owner and principal Declaration of Independence drafter Thomas Jefferson did not extend to the 500,000 African slaves who made up about 20% of the 2.5 million people inhabiting the 13 break-away colonies. It did not apply to women either.            But Dr. Horne’s book  illustrates how this exclusion was not the result of simple oversight or opportunist hypocrisy. “1776 can fairly be said to have eventuated as a counter-revolution of slavery,” Dr. Horne writes in his book. “ Defenders of the so-called Confederate States of America [during the U.S. Civil War] were far from bonkers when they argued passionately that their revolt was consistent with the animating and driving spirit of 1776.”            Indeed, one understands better the reproach that the American founding fathers made “to our British brethren” in their Declaration of Independence. “We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us.” Their principal concern: that slavery and the slave trade would be outlawed.            The birth of Haiti, the second independent nation of the Western Hemisphere, stands in stark counterpoint to that of its northern neighbor. It was a true revolution, aimed at forever ending slavery, not preserving it.            Consider the words pronounced by General Jean-Jacques Dessalines on Jan. 1, 1804 in the city of Gonaïves: “It is not enough to have expelled the [French] barbarians who have bloodied our land for two centuries; it is not enough to have restrained those ever-evolving factions that one after another mocked the specter of liberty that France dangled before you. We must, with one last act of national authority, forever assure the empire of liberty in the country of our birth. We must take any hope of re-enslaving us away from the inhuman government that for so long kept us in the most humiliating torpor. In the end we must live independent or die.”            Unfortunately, the primitive accumulation of capital by the newly emerged United States bourgeoisie through its inhuman crimes helped make it the super-power it is today. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. observed: “We have deluded ourselves into believing the myth that capitalism grew and prospered out of the Protestant ethic of hard work and sacrifices. Capitalism was built on the exploitation of black slaves and continues to thrive on the exploitation of the poor, both black and white, both here and abroad.”            Furthermore, Dr. King observed that the U.S. “was born in genocide when it embraced the doctrine that the original American, the Indian, was an inferior race... We are perhaps the only nation which tried as a matter of national policy to wipe out its indigenous population. Moreover, we elevated that tragic experience into a noble crusade.”            In contrast to the American founding fathers, who denounced the “merciless Indian Savages” in their Declaration, the victorious slaves of the former French colony of St. Domingue renamed their new nation “Haiti,” the original Arawak name for the entire island, meaning “mountainous land.”             Haiti is, in fact, the world’s first nation to truly defend “liberty, equality, and fraternity” – the French Revolution’s watchwords – by opposing slavery and the extermination of the Native Americans.            These founding Haitian principles have deprived the nation of the great capital that can be extracted from exploitation, theft of land, and imperialist aggression. Haiti’s poverty also was contributed to when the U.S. refused to recognize Haiti for six decades (much as it embargoes revolutionary Cuba today) and militarily occupied our country for 36 years out of the past century, most recently though the United Nations proxy force, MINUSTAH.            Indeed, today, just as in time of Thomas Jefferson, the U.S. seeks to destroy our 1804 revolution by making us again a slave colony. In the past decade, their two principal thrusts have been 1) to land an occupation army in 2004 and 2) to intervene in our sovereign 2010/2011 elections to put in place a neo-colonial puppet regime, that of President Michel Martelly and Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe. Their goal is to re-enslave us in the sweatshop free trade zones of of SONAPI, CODEVI, and Caracol, and to steal the wealth from our “mountainous land,” in particular the $20 billion worth of gold dust left behind by the Spanish conquistadors who annihilated the Arawaks.
            So, on this July 4, therefore, let us renew our allegiance to the call that General Dessalines made to all Haitians – both our ancestors and those of us living today – at the end of his January 1, 1804 declaration: “Vow before me to live free and independent, and to prefer death to anything that will try to place you back in chains.”
Categories: Haitian blogs

a long ride, a birth, a sunday in ayiti

Livesay Haiti - Jul. 7, 2014 - 1:32 am

Most women begin the Prenatal program in their first trimester. The majority of the ladies start around week 9 of their pregnancy. We like them to join as early as possible, to get in on the teaching, community, vitamins, and iron. 

On occasion we meet a lady that is further along in her pregnancy that we have a gut sense we should accept.  Beth McHoul recalls interviewing Andrena at the 20 to 22 week mark in her pregnancy and upon hearing about a previous stillbirth at home, she felt strongly that Andrena should be accepted even though she was later than our ideal gestational age for acceptance.

Andrena arrived at the Maternity Center around 8pm tonight.  She said she left her house before the contractions got "hot" because the ride is long to get us. She came with her niece who left shortly after making sure her aunt was going to be staying over night.  Andrena walked outside the Maternity Center for about 45 minutes before getting tired and coming in to rest a bit. 

By 9:40, without so much as a single loud noise, she welcomed her fourth child, a little boy.  For all the midwives and L& D nurses out there, Haitian women have insanely-short second stage(s). It seems odd to us when we have the occasional 90 minute second stage.  Andrena wins the second stage award for this summer. It lasted 22 seconds, and baby came with one small push.

Congrats to Andrena, and welcome to the world outside, little baby-guy.

We have purchased land and our long term goal is a larger (second location) Maternity Center.  The money that has been raised specifically for the new MC, has been put toward that specific project. The foundation is in place and the walls have been started. We are a long way from completion of that new larger center. 

For now we operate from one location, an adorable little house (that we all love) that allows us to have about 40 to 45 pregnant woman enrolled in the program at a time. As one delivers and switches to the Early Childhood program, we can accept a newly pregnant woman in her spot. We would love nothing more than to make better use of this house and do some remodeling here that would allow space to increase our numbers to closer to 60 pregnant women at one time.  

We are in need of help networking and finding connections to those that have a heart for Haitian women/children and want to reduce the number of children in orphanages.  

If your church or group or foundation or organization wants to help in the area of maternal health and orphan prevention (which IS in fact, "orphan care") please let us know if we can share more about our programs and whom we can contact. 

Like most non-profits, we are always looking for funding. We are a small, grass-roots organization with room and a desire to grow slowly. Social Media is great for sharing the message of what we do, we feel so supported in that way, but it doesn't typically equal long-term funding. We'd love to speak to your foundation or committee and share what is happening here. 

Interested in helping us? Click this link to go to a donation page. 

Interested in helping fund a midwife to live/serve here? Click here, Beth Johnson is currently raising funds to extend her time in Haiti. 
Categories: Haitian blogs

a walk, a birth, a saturday in ayiti

Livesay Haiti - Jul. 5, 2014 - 9:54 pm

Some of the things (in no particular order) the women hear in Prenatal class are: 1) Drink water drink water, drink more water  2) take your vitamins and iron daily 3) when you are in labor, walking will help you progress 4) nurse your baby right away and after that nurse often.

Jacqueline, a mom expecting her fourth child, said that last night her pain seemed false. She went to bed and slept through the night. This morning she woke up and quickly realized that the pain she was feeling was no longer false. She didn't have any money to take a tap-tap so she started walking toward the Maternity Center. She walked for what she guesses was 45 to 60 minutes and arrived to the Maternity Center almost ready to push. Her 7 pound daughter was born 15 minutes after she arrived. 

When Beth Johnson commented on how fast it all went she said, "Yes, I walked!"

Tonight Jacqueline and her daughter are resting, recovering, and getting to know one another at the Heartline Maternity Center. 

Categories: Haitian blogs

onward we march and fly

Livesay Haiti - Jul. 3, 2014 - 7:25 am

I miss writing on a regular schedule more than I imagined I might. It kinda sorta really bums me out that I am not documenting things as well as I did a couple years ago. Too much happens in the short period of a week or a month. I don't want to forget. 

That is one problem with forty-one. You forget things more. I abhor that. I even stopped drinking diet-pop to help fix my head. Thing is, there is no fixing forty-one.  Forty-one cannot hold as much information as twenty-one or thirty-one. Enjoy it while it lasts, kids.

Once I am officially finished with the (academics) midwifery stuff, I feel like my ability and time to write will increase. Earlier today I re-read the comments on an old post I wrote about starting midwifery schooling. It made me smile to see all the "go for it" and "do it" commentary from 2011. 

Back then, I found most midwifery stuff to be uber weird and crunchy and even bizarre. I figured I could be the one-and-only not weird midwife. Today, I am trying to talk Paige into encapsulating her placenta. If you can't beat 'em, be a freak too. That's how the old saying goes, right? (forty-one)

I have so much to say about mid/weird wives, but on another day. I test in early August. If I pass, I get the credentials I've been working for and life as usual continues. If I don't pass, you can come peel me off the floor of the Florida testing site and try to convince me that life is still worth living. 

Until then, please feel free to ask what you are curious about (in comments) for ideas for future posts - and if time allows, go to A Life Overseas to read the July post.   

Thank-you, friends. 

Photo: Phoebe March 2014 
Categories: Haitian blogs

Leslie Manigat, Overthrown in a Coup in Haiti, Dies at 83

New York Times on Haiti - Jun. 29, 2014 - 12:00 am
Mr. Manigat was overthrown in a bloodless military coup after serving less than six months in office.
Categories: Haitian blogs

Leslie Manigat, former president of Haiti and founder of Rassemblement des démocrates nationaux progressistes

Michael Deibert's Haiti Blog - Jun. 28, 2014 - 7:58 am
Haïti-Politique : Leslie Manigat est mort 

vendredi 27 juin 2014

(Read the original article here

Le Rassemblement des démocrates nationaux progressistes (Rdnp) rendra publique, bientôt, une note annonçant la date des funérailles du professeur Leslie Manigat, selon un militant (depuis 1987) de ce parti politique joint par AlterPresse.

P-au-P, 27 juin 2014 [AlterPresse] --- L’ancien président (7 février 1988 - 20 juin 1988), issu d’élections controversées du 17 janvier 1988 - après l’avortement sanglant du scrutin du 29 novembre 1987 -, Leslie François Saint-Roc Manigat, s’est éteint à l’aube de ce vendredi 27 juin 2014, après avoir fait face à la maladie pendant de longues années, apprend l’agence d’information en ligne AlterPresse.

Né le 16 août 1930 à Port-au-Prince, Leslie Manigat est mort à l’âge de 83 ans et 10 mois. Il a été le fils de François Saint-Surin Manigat et de Haydée Augustin, tous deux enseignants.
Il est de la lignée du feu général Saint-Surin François Manigat, un homme politique qui a occupé d’importantes fonctions sous le gouvernement de Lysius François Salomon, qui fut ministre de l’Intérieur, délégué de la nouvelle Banque nationale d’Haïti et ministre de l’Instruction publique.

De nombreuses personnalités saluent le départ du professeur Manigat pour l’au-delà

Surpris, le président du sénat, Dieusseul Simon Desras, salue le départ de cet illustre personnage.
Il profite de l’occasion pour présenter ses sympathies à la famille, aux amis et à l’intelligentsia haïtienne.

Des planifications sont en cours pour rendre publique une position officielle, en ce qui concerne les activités qui seront organisées pour saluer le départ de l’éminent professeur Leslie Francois Saint-Roc Manigat, a-t-il souligné.

« Le professeur Leslie Manigat était malade, il n’était plus dans l’activité politique. C’est avec cette surprise que la classe politique s’est réveillée ce matin », indique l’ingénieur-agronome Jean André Victor, coordonnateur du Mouvement patriotique de l’opposition démocratique (Mopod), surpris par la nouvelle de la mort de Manigat.

Le vice-recteur à la recherche de l’Université d’Etat d’Haïti (Ueh), Fritz Deshommes salue « la longueur de l’œuvre de Leslie Manigat ».

« C’est vraiment une grande perte pour le pays, pour les intellectuels du pays, pour les réflexions politiques au sein du pays. C’est l’un des plus grands historiens que le pays a jamais produits », réagit Deshommes.

« A travers l’Université d’Etat d’Haïti, nous avons toujours le regret que le professeur Leslie Manigat - qui a été le fondateur de l’une des institutions de l’Etat, l’Institut national d’administration, de gestion et des hautes études internationales (Inaghei) - n’a pas été professeur en Haïti, de manière permanente, après son retour d’exil. Mais, il ne faut pas oublier qu’il a formé, avant son exil, beaucoup de grands Haïtiens, lorsqu’il a été professeur à l’école normale supérieure », renchérit le vice-recteur à la recherche à l’Ueh.

En 2010, lors d’un colloque sur la refondation d’Haïti, après le tremblement de terre du 12 janvier 2010, le professeur Leslie Manigat a été le conférencier principal, offrant une conférence magistrale pour montrer l’apport des intellectuels depuis la fondation de la nation haïtienne, pour faire avancer la réflexion comme peuple, comme pays, comme nation, se souvient également le professeur Deshommes.

« La perte de quelqu’un, de l’envergure de Leslie Manigat, c’est une perte sur laquelle tout le monde devrait réfléchir. Il y a des hommes, de très grande valeur à l’intérieur du pays, qui nous appellent à produire beaucoup plus, pour que nous nous élevions en tant que peuple, pour que ce pays cesse d’emprunter la voie qu’il occupe aujourd’hui, parce que le professeur Manigat vivait très mal la présence de la Mission des Nations Unies pour la stabilisation d’Haïti (Minustah) », insiste le vice-recteur Fritz Deshommes.

Bref survol du parcours intellectuel de Leslie Manigat

Il a fait ses études classiques à l’Institution Saint-Louis de Gonzague (Islg), dirigée par les Frères de l’instruction chrétienne (Fic), puis des études supérieures à Paris, où il a obtenu un doctorat en Philosophie.

En Haïti, il a mené une double et importante carrière administrative et universitaire.

Exilé en 1963 en France, aux Etats-Unis d’Amérique et au Venezuela sous la dictature de François Duvalier (22 septembre 1957 - 21 avril 1971), il a été maître de conférences à l’Université Paris VIII (Vincennes) et maître de recherches associé au Centre d’études des relations internationales.
En 1970, il a épousé à Paris, en secondes noces, Myrlande Hyppolite - constitutionnaliste, ancienne étudiante de l’Ecole normale supérieure (Ens) et docteure en sciences politiques - qui sera la première femme à faire partie du Sénat de la république (en 1988).

Leslie Manigat a été le fondateur et premier directeur, en 1958, de l’Ecole des hautes études internationales de l’Université d’Etat d’Haïti (Ueh), devenue plus tard Inaghei.

En 1971, il est professeur à l’Université Paris VIII (Vincennes), à Paris I (Panthéon-Sorbonne) en 1988 et à l’Institut des Hautes études internationales de Genève en Suisse, la même année.
Il fut ensuite appelé à enseigner dans plusieurs autres universités, dont la Johns Hopkins University à Baltimore, aux États-Unis d’Amérique, l’Institut d’Études Politiques à Paris, le West Indies Universities à Trinidad, Yale University (pour une brève période) et à l’Université de Caracas au Venezuela (aujourd’hui Universidad Central de Venezuela).

Carrière politique de Leslie Manigat

La carrière politique de Leslie Manigat a démarré au cours des années 1950.

Il a d’abord monnayé ses services au ministère des Affaires étrangères. En 1957, partageant l’idéologie de François Duvalier, il a appuyé sa candidature. Une relation, qui ne tardera pas à tourner au vinaigre, au point qu’il sera l’objet de persécutions politiques.

Sous le régime de François Duvalier, il a été emprisonné deux mois, en 1963, avant de s’exiler en France, aux États-Unis d’Amérique et au Venezuela.

Aussitôt relâché, il gagne l’exil et s’établit aux États-Unis d’Amérique, en France et au Venezuela.

C’est durant ces années d’exil qu’il a l’opportunité de fonder, en 1979, le Rassemblement des démocrates nationaux progressistes (Rdnp), parti politique qui critiquait ouvertement le régime en place et qu’il allait diriger pendant 25 ans.

A la chute de Jean-Claude Duvalier, le 7 février 1986, il rentre au pays et se porte candidat à la présidence à la présidentielle avortée du 29 novembre 1987, sous la bannière de son parti.

Au scrutin du 17 janvier 1988, boycotté par les principaux partis politiques [1], à la suite du massacre électoral du 29 novembre 1987, Leslie François Manigat devient président, issu d’un scrutin controversé.

Du 7 février au 19 juin 1988, il dirige Haïti avant d’être renversé par le lieutenant-général Henry Namphy.

A la présidentielle du 16 décembre 1990, le conseil électoral provisoire de l’époque rejette la candidature de Leslie Manigat sur la base qu’il a été président en 1988.

En février 2006, après son échec à la présidentielle, gagnée dans des conditions particulières par son rival René Garcia Préval, Leslie Manigat se retire de la politique active et cède le leadership du Rdnp à sa femme Myrlande Hyppolite.

Entre-temps, sous l’administration du président Boniface Alexandre et du premier ministre Gérard Latortue, il a présidé, d’août 2004 à janvier 2005, la commission de célébration du bicentenaire de l’Indépendance d’Haïti (proclamée le 1er janvier 1804). Claude Moïse, Georges Corvington, Fritz Daguillard, Michèle Duvivier Pierre-Louis, Suzy Castor, Victor Benoît, Michel Philippe-Lerebours et Michel Hector faisaient partie de cette commission, avec Leslie Manigat. [jep kft rc apr 27/06/2014 12:00]
[1] Après le massacre d’électrices et d’électeurs, le dimanche 29 novembre 1987, les principaux partis politiques étaient regroupés sous le nom de Comité d’entente démocratique (Ced), composé du Front national de concertation (Fnc) de Gérard Gourgue, du Mouvement pour l’instauration de la démocratie en Haïti (Midh), du Parti démocrate Chrétien haïtien (Pdch) du pasteur Sylvio Claude et du Parti agricole industriel national (Pain) de Louis Déjoie II
Categories: Haitian blogs

a life of deprivation? who is to say?

Livesay Haiti - Jun. 27, 2014 - 6:22 pm
I walked upstairs yesterday and Lydia said, "Ma - I gotta show you something. Like.Right.Now."  The tone of her voice left no room for stalling or delay.

I followed her down the steps.  She picked up a half sheet of paper and read it to me.

"Mom - it says this - A party for Callie on June 30th. It says we can come at noon and it says bring a swimsuit."

I said, "Oh fun, that's great."

Lydia said, "So we can go? I can bring a suit?"

"Yes, you can go, yes a suit."

Lydia said, "Well I need to write on here- YES, then!"

She ran to find a crayon and wrote yes three times on the invitation and set it on my desk. I don't know how that piece of paper is getting back to the family that invited them, but she seems to trust it will.

At dinnertime she said, "So is it June 30th yet?  WHEN is June 30th? How many days do I have to wait for June 30th?"

She mentioned the party and the paper about the party thirteen more times before she fell asleep.

~          ~            ~

Most of the funny things that our kids don't know, we don't immediately realize. It is a weird thing about living here in this different normal.  Lydia has never been handed an invitation to a birthday party.  She is 6 years old and has certainly been to birthday parties, but a written invitation was a new thing for her. It pretty much made her life yesterday. She didn't know the paper was called an invitation, but she took the information very seriously when she read it to me.

When I was last in the U.S. Paige informed me that we have failed at making her and her siblings capable of buying things alone.  "Mom, Hope is afraid to go order a french-fry at a counter by herself." I figured Paige was just exaggerating to make me feel like dump, the way moms and daughters do that ridiculous thing they do sometimes. I blew it off.

Later that week I saw for myself that Hope is not accustomed to going to ask questions or order things on her own. When I asked her to she hung back, afraid. In Haiti Troy does all the shopping.  The kids and I rarely enter marketplaces here.  We don't have to be assertive because he is assertive for us. It is for sure an epic failure, one we still have time to fix, I hope. Our kids should probably reach 18 with an ability to order food or buy something at a store.

I can easily see the failures and mistakes - the things they miss out on - but allow me for a brief moment to also recognize the unique and cool things that happen BECAUSE they live here.  First of all, they love their teacher(s) so much - like, these are people that will likely sit at their wedding(s) one day.  We are crazy blessed by Jimmy and Becky Burton teaching our kids. We are excited that they will be back for a fourth year this fall.

The week in photo review ...

One day this week the kids were allowed to don little bee-keeping suits (ignore the bare feet). 

They got to get up close to the hives and taste honey straight from the honeycomb.

Lydia said, "That honey was soooooo good. Now I think that bees are awesome instead of horrible."

I asked Noah to give me a synopsis of what he learned. Without exaggeration he talked for 45 minutes straight - barely stopping to breathe. I so wished the expert was here to know how much of Noah's information is accurate. He seems to have recalled everything he was taught. The most interesting thing Noah said, "Mom, get this, bees have photographic memories - they memorize your face and can remember it later if you return without the mask they will sting you later."

(Joseph Bataille is a friend and beekeeper - some of his bees live on Heartline's property right behind the kids' school building. He bought little beekeeper suits a while back and he graciously taught the kids about his work on Wednesday.)

A veterinarian named Kelly Crowdis came to talk to the kids this week, as did her friend Rhoda, an agronomist. Noah said, "One taught us a lot about plants and then for like 40 minutes we were asking questions about the food chain. We learned words like Oviparous and Viviparous. We were asking a lot of questions and especially Isaac did, then we learned about goats and that they have four stomachs and if you put a stethoscope on the goat you can hear some cool sounds of the liquid moving around their stomachs and their heartbeats are way faster than humans."

Then he said, "Ms. Kelly was asked by Isaac if she ever worked with Crocodiles and I was like, Isaac, don't ask that (rolls his eyes) and then of course Ms. Kelly said, no she hasn't but she has worked with snakes. She told us about helping a snake in a mouse trap."

Phoebe said, "I liked the listening to the goat heartbeat. I listened to Cookie's heartbeats."
(Lydia says the goats are named - Brownie, Cookie, and Pie. This is evidence of her true commitment to an unrelenting sugar obsession. Isaac disputes this claim and says the goats are named Groveretta, Pizza, and Percy.)

A visit to the Maternity Center when newborns are around is one of Lydia's favorite things. All the kids stop by on occasion, but Lydia really loves it. She stopped in to behold the miraculous little Sophonie today.

So they don't know U.S. currency and they cannot confidently order from a fast-food menu or easily go visit a park or playground.  

I still say, this. is. living.

Categories: Haitian blogs

a gift for guerda

Livesay Haiti - Jun. 26, 2014 - 4:24 pm

Storytelling when it is your own story, totally doable.   Storytelling when the story is not yours, but that of a beloved friend, well ... less than totally doable.  
I don't want to over or under tell it.

My sister has let me write about her.  My daughters have allowed me to write about them.  I have not asked Guerda if I can write about her.  My guess is she would smile and give me the "wi wi" routine. (That is "yes", not urine.)

Guerda has longed for a child for many years.  Many.  If I told you how many I would only be telling you one of a few versions of history that have been recorded.  

Guerda is what we lovingly refer to as a "poor historian".   

Surviving the month, the year, the next day ... That is what she and her loved ones focus their energy on. No, I am not suggesting she stands at death's door all the live long day. I am suggesting that life is very challenging and Guerda needs to think about how to make money and to afford shelter and how to get food to eat, hopefully on a daily basis. Keeping track of her long medical and pregnancy history was not first on her agenda or her mind.

Suffice it to say, Guerda has lost many babies. We think seven, but we have also counted eight and nine at different tellings of the stories. We know once it was stillborn twins. We know many pregnancies made it well into the second trimester. It matters we get it right because every life matters.  It sorta doesn't matter because we know enough to know it is very grave and difficult and incredibly sad.

Guerda delivered one of her still-born babies with Heartline midwives (Beth M and Jonna) attending to her in the month of June, the year of the earthquake. Dr. Sizemore of TN helped via phone and internet. That was when we first became intimately involved in her complicated history.  

Not so long after that Guerda began working at Heartline and worked with Andrema (some know Andrema as Cherline) at the Maternity Center doing housekeeping and laundry and sometimes working with the cooks. In early 2013 she had an first trimester miscarriage.

When Guerda told us she thought she was pregnant in December of last year, honestly, we all sort of groaned nervously.  We entered into this pregnancy thinking, "Oh boy, this could end in another heart-break."  Guerda seemed hopeful and we of course couldn't blame her, eventually we all switched gears - and arrived at hopeful and tried not to think about the difficult possibility of another loss.

Early in the pregnancy a midwife/NP from Omaha, NE named Martha came and visited like she sometimes does.  She is hilarious. I love her because she swears. Other people love her because she is blunt and direct and uber smart.   All that to say, we love her. She looked at Guerda's history and gave her educated guess about why Guerda had lost so many babies. After that another visiting midwife from Kansas did tons of research on Martha's (correct) guess and then a midwife in Texas donated the expensive daily injections that Guerda needed. Then as the pregnancy went on and things got more and more complicated the team in Haiti worked with Dr. Jen in Minnesota and we put Guerda on bed rest and gave the baby a little lung boost with steroids and kept asking all of you to pray.  (Side note: One of the posts we shared about Guerda on FaceBook was shared 25 times and seen by 7,500 people.For our little ministry, that was big! If even half of those that saw it prayed; WOW.)

At the 33 week and 5 day mark, Guerda was transferred to PIH Hospital to prepare for a C-section. They did the C-section last Friday morning.

The little miracle babe never needed oxygen, she was born 4 pounds and 2 ounces.  Her Momma could not be shining any brighter right now.  They are back at Heartline and resting and bonding in the postpartum area.  We expect them to stay for several weeks while baby Sophonie puts on some weight and Guerda has her blood pressure monitored closely.

At times we find that we can get buried in the sad situations and challenges of Haiti.  Today we celebrate something beautiful. We always, always want to thank God and those of you that carry this little Maternity Center in your prayers when we see His goodness and provision.

Please join us in welcoming Sophonie Estives to the world!
Congratulations to Guerda and Wilton!!!

Post Script -
I asked Guerda today before I hit publish.  She said, "Share the miracle on the internet".

When and if there is more news to share about this beautiful family, we will!

with nurses, Wini and Nirva
with midwife, Beth M.
with midwife, Beth J.
Via Beth McHoul - "I woke up feeling so amazed at the goodness of God. Seeing Guerda holding her sweet baby after so many heart wrenching losses is like a dream. Her mothering skills are just perfect and baby knows just what to do. Guerda is a local celebrity with people popping in to visit her. People know a miracle when they see one. Thank you Guerda for holding on and believing what God could do. In this land of so many crushing set backs and disappointments this victory, this baby, this miracle tells us to keep on keeping on!"
Categories: Haitian blogs