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An Artist’s Priorities Are Shaken From the Abstract to the Concrete

New York Times on Haiti - May. 31, 2014 - 12:00 am
Philippe Dodard, often called the Picasso of Haiti, has turned his focus to rebuilding a neglected art school after the 2010 earthquake.
Categories: Haitian blogs

While on Trip to Demand MINUSTAH’s Withdrawal: Senator Moïse Jean-Charles Meets with Haitian Refugees in Brazil

HaitiAnalysis - May. 27, 2014 - 7:13 pm

by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)
Sen. Moïse Jean-Charles held several meetings with disgruntled Haitian immigrants in Sao Paolo this week as part of a six-day visit to Brazil. On May 21, he will address both houses of the Parliament, and on May 22, the Sao Paolo City Council will recognize him as an honorary citizen of that city, the Western Hemisphere’s largest.            Sen. Jean-Charles’ current visit to Brazil, like his two previous ones in 2013, is part of a campaign to push for the withdrawal of the 9,000-soldier UN Mission to Stabilize Haiti (MINUSTAH), which will mark its 10th anniversary on Jun. 1. Some 2,200 Brazilian troops make up MINUSTAH’s largest contingent, and Brazilian generals command the force.
            Joining the senator on his visit to Brazil is Oxygène David, a leader of the new party Dessalines Coordination (KOD), which is one of eight groups in the Haitian Coordination for the Withdrawal of UN Troops from Haiti. The Haitian Coordination, whose April declaration Sen. Jean-Charles also signed, is planning events to denounce MINUSTAH’s 10th anniversary in Haiti. There will also be demonstrations against MINUSTAH in nations around the world including Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Peru, Guadeloupe, St. Lucia, Trinidad-Tobago, Uruguay, and the United States.            A Haitian Senate resolution, drafted by Sen. Jean-Charles one year ago and passed unanimously, called for all UN troops to be out of Haiti by May 28, 2014. UN authorities have pointedly ignored the resolution and have fixed no deadline for their open-ended military occupation to leave Haiti.            Every Monday morning, KOD holds a demonstration of about 50 people in front of the UN base at the Port-au-Prince airport calling for MINUSTAH to pack up and go. UN troops and Haitian police have been increasingly disturbed by and aggressive against the weekly action, threatening demonstrators with tear-gas and arrest.            On May 18, Sen. Jean-Charles met with Haitians at the Church of the Immigrants in downtown Sao Paolo, about a block from a city-run emergency housing center which currently holds over 100 Haitian immigrants. On May 19, Sen. Jean-Charles, along with Oxygène David and a journalist from Haïti Liberté, returned to the “Auberge Emergenciel,” and later to a squatter-run commercial building, to hear the grievances of Haitian expatriates.            “I make only 1000 reals (US$450) per month in a terribly hard job cleaning chemicals from barrels,” said a 27-year-old Haitian man at the housing center who would identify himself only as Hector. “We are given dangerous work and don’t make enough to send home money or even to live. We are virtually slaves here!”            The Haitians at the center, managed by the mayor’s office, sleep in a giant fluorescent-lit hall on metal bunk beds and use communal bathrooms. The yard has lots of laundry hanging in it.            There are an estimated 50,000 Haitians now living in Brazil, but only 20,000 are legal and have work papers. Almost all have come to Brazil over the past decade that Brazilian troops have been in Haiti. As in many countries, the Haitian immigrants work in menial jobs as construction workers, maids, or janitors, although many are trained as nurses, doctors, accountants, or engineers.            “In talking with people, we’ve identified three main problems,” Sen. Jean-Charles said speaking later on May 19 at the Movement for Housing for All (MMPT), which has occupied a vacant commercial building in downtown Sao Paolo to provide shelter for homeless people, including dozens of Haitians. “There is the problem of sanitation, of education, and of salaries. Add to those, there may have been some human rights violations, for which Haitians need a lawyer. We are going to raise all these issues when we meet with local authorities to see what kind of relief our Haitian brothers and sisters can receive.”            Meanwhile, Oxygène David pointed out to the Haitians that ending the UN occupation of Haiti is in their interests. “Every year, Brazil spends millions of reals to support soldiers who are repressing and killing our brothers and sisters in Haiti,” he said to Haitians at the housing center. “That money could be going to hospitals, schools, agriculture, and better jobs and housing for immigrants like you here in Brazil. So you have a double interest in seeing Brazilian soldiers leave Haiti. One, to end the repression of your fellow Haitians. Two, to allow more money to be available for jobs and services here.”            The Brazilian committee sponsoring Sen. Jean-Charles’s trip to Brazil, “To Defend Haiti is to Defend Ourselves,” organized the meetings with Haitian immigrants as well as the trip to Brasilia to address both the Brazilian Senate and House of Deputies on May 21. Sen. Jean-Charles is also speaking to many radio and television stations in both Sao Paolo and Brasilia.            On May 22, Sao Paolo’s City Council will name Sen. Jean-Charles as a “Citizen of Sao Paolo.” The ceremony, which will be open to the public, was initiated by Councilwoman Juliana Cardoso of the ruling Workers Party (PT) and State Deputy Adriano Diogo, also of the PT. “It is a very great honor in Brazil to receive this recognition,” said Barbara Corrales, the coordinator of the “To Defend Haiti is to Defend Ourselves” committee.            Last December, Sen. Jean-Charles visited Brasil to attend the PT’s National Congress, in which he succeeded in convincing delegates to pass a resolution calling for the withdrawal of Brazilian troops from Haiti. In May 2013, the senator also visited several Brazilian cities to push for troop withdrawal.            On Jun. 10, Sen. Jean-Charles will meet for the second time with Uruguayan President José Mujica in Montevideo. “I will ask him to respect the promise that he made to me during our meeting last November,” Sen. Jean-Charles told Haïti Liberté. “He said he was going to withdraw Uruguayan troops from Haiti. I want to find out how that is progressing.”
            Uruguay has historically had about 1,100 troops in MINUSTAH, the second largest contingent after Brazil.
Categories: Haitian blogs

Scholars, Cholera Victims Tell Court UN Immunity Cannot Be Impunity

HaitiAnalysis - May. 27, 2014 - 7:12 pm

by the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti
International law scholars and practitioners from Europe and North America, many with United Nations (UN) connections, filed two amicus curiae briefs on May 15 in support of a federal class action lawsuit against the UN for bringing cholera to Haiti. The briefs demonstrate a consensus among scholars that the UN has an obligation to provide the cholera victims a hearing for their claims, and that its refusal to do so imperils the organization’s immunity.            The amicus briefs buttress another brief filed May 15 by the cholera victims. It explains why immunity cannot shield the UN from having to respond to the victims’ suit. All three briefs respond to a March 2014 filing by the U.S. Government urging dismissal of the case on the grounds that the UN is immune from suit.
            In one amicus brief, well-known international law scholars note that several international treaties, as well as the UN’s own General Assembly resolutions, legal opinions, and practices establish an obligation for the organization to compensate people harmed by UN operations – an obligation which has not been fulfilled in the cholera case.            One of the signers of this brief, José Alvarez, professor of international law at New York University School of Law, noted that “the UN has committed itself at the highest levels to the promotion and fulfillment of the rule of law, but apparently sees no contradiction in promoting accountability — including legal accountability — in others while refusing to address how the national or international law applies to itself in this case."            European legal experts point out in the second amicus brief that courts outside of the United States balance an international organization’s immunity protection with victims’ right of access to court. They describe how those courts have required that in return for immunity in court, international organizations must provide harmed individuals with a reasonable alternative procedure.            Manfred Nowak, Professor of International Law and Human Rights at Vienna and Stanford University and former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, added that “the UN needs to understand that immunity cannot mean impunity. If it refuses to provide people alleging harm with a path to justice, courts will refuse to uphold its immunity.”            The amicus briefs underscore the growing international consensus that the UN cannot be absolutely immune for its actions in Haiti. The international law authorities signing the briefs include current and former UN mandate holders such as Nico Schrijver and Krister Thelin. Last month, the New York City Bar Association sent a letter to the State Department expressing its concern that the U.S. Government should not support the UN’s violations of the law.            The plaintiffs’ brief is the first opportunity that the cholera victims have had to tell the court why UN immunity does not apply in this case, which was filed in October 2013. The plaintiffs argue that the UN’s promises to provide an out-of-court procedure for the settlement of claims against it are a fundamental part of the treaties that grant it immunity, and that the organization cannot invoke its immunity under those treaties when it has failed to fulfill those promises.
            Cholera continues to affect Haiti’s vulnerable population. The UN itself has warned that the disease may kill up to 2,000 more people in 2014. To date, the epidemic has killed more than 8,500 and sickened more than 700,000.
Categories: Haitian blogs

A Life Less Ordinary : A Call to Prayer

Livesay Haiti - May. 27, 2014 - 12:16 am
Please read my friend and co-workers post about the way Chikungunya has affected a few of the newborn babes...

A Life Less Ordinary : A Call to Prayer:
Categories: Haitian blogs

Morning Bells are Ringing

Livesay Haiti - May. 26, 2014 - 9:08 am
Written By Dr. John CarrollPrincess–May 8, 2014 (Photo by John Carroll)Dear Princess,I can now talk to you as an adult. You are not a precious little baby any longer.This is Mother’s Day in Haiti and your mother Fabiola is grieving greatly for you. She just texted me that she wants to play with you…but she knows that she cannot.As you remember you were born with complex congenital heart disease and were hospitalized four times in Port-au-Prince during the first three months of your life for congestive heart failure and pneumonia. You somehow recovered each time and were discharged to the care of your mom and grandma. And they both fed you all day long one to two ounces of Enfamil at a time with a syringe because you were too weak to take milk like “normal” babies do.After many attempts we finally found a medical center to accept you and you charmed the people there just as much as you charmed your family and neighborhood friends in Port. People were fascinated with your face and your intelligence and your beauty. During our trip to the States people in the airports would just stare at all 10 pounds of you and marvel and wonder about you. And your nurses in the medical center fell in love with you quickly.Princess, you went to heart surgery last Wednesday morning with Fabiola carrying you while we walked to the hospital at 6 AM just before the sun came up. Many people in three countries were praying for you that morning. You were indeed a little rock star and you seemed to know that.And you came through surgery well and went to pediatric CVICU in stable condition. You were monitored with every known baby monitor and given the best care in the world. Your doctor teams that rounded on you and your nurses literally watched every heart beat and breath you took. And your mom was given a slow and in-depth explanation of every monitor and lead and tube placed on or in your tiny body so she could understand what it was all about. All of your medications that you were receiving in the vein were also explained to your mom.I was asleep when your dad Lolo called me from Haiti at 1:30 AM on Thursday morning. He told me that you were not doing well. I wondered if I was dreaming. I tried to read my cell phone texts from your mom who had sent them to me before your father called. The texts said that they were pumping on your chest and that she needed to be strong but that she could not stay at your crib-side any longer. I wondered if this could really be happening.I got to your ICU bed as quickly as I could but it was too late. The code was called. The doctors and nurses had done everything humanly possible to “reanime” you. Your chest was being closed. All that could be done to bring you back had already happened. Your life here was over.Princess, you felt no pain and gave us no warning as your pulmonary blood vessels clamped down all of a sudden and deprived your heart muscle of oxygen and your heart simply slowed down and stopped. The great medical team caring for you could not win the battle against your resistant pulmonary blood vessels that had too much muscle in their walls for the team to overcome. We simply did not get to you soon enough in Haiti to operate your heart and win this war.I walked down the hall and found Fabiola on the phone. I didn’t want to look at her. But she looked at me and asked me how you were and I said not good. She asked me if you were breathing and I said no. She asked me if you had died and I said yes. Your 23-year-old mom didn’t blink and showed no emotion whatsoever. She simply spoke into the phone and told your dad Lolo “she’s dead” and hung up. However, when your dad called back he was hysterical and I could hear your grandmas wailing in the back ground. I could see and hear and feel the misery and anguish during this dark night in your little home in Haiti.The attending doctors came and explained things clearly to your mom in soft voices. Fabiola had no questions for them and thanked them for all they had done to try to save you.During the next hour in the waiting room your mom and dad continued to Facebook Message each other. I don’t think Message was created to hold this amount of sorrow contained in these texts.At 4 AM your mom told me she was tired and wanted to sleep. So I led her back across the quiet and vacant medical center campus to her room across the street from the hospital. After this I returned to see you one last time, pick up the plaster cast mementos of your hands and feet, your pink blanket, and a little doll the nurses had given you.At 5 AM I left the hospital. The morning air was clean, all was still, and the eastern sky was becoming a little brighter. As I walked alone I felt hollow…like I had nothing inside of me.I had your doll in my right hand and I must have accidentally hit a button on it somehow and it started playing music that sounded like choir music. (I didn’t know it played any type of music.) I stopped and tried to turn it off but I couldn’t. So I put in my black knapsack on my back but it continued to play. The second song was “Frere Jacques”, the song we all know from childhood.Frère Jacques, Frère Jacques,
Dormez-vous? Dormez-vous?
Sonnez les matines! Sonnez les matines!
Ding, daing, dong. Ding, daing, dong.The song is traditionally translated into English as:Brother John, Brother John,
Are you sleeping? Are you sleeping?
Morning bells are ringing! Morning bells are ringing!
Ding, dang, dong. Ding, dang, dong.I have to say that I was not surprised. Princess, I knew it was you, no longer as a little baby with your knowing grin, but as someone with infinite wisdom in a real good place, and you were assuring me that you were fine. And you were also telling me that you understood that we are humans and forgave us for our very slow and bumbling pace in Haiti trying to save your life. The morning bells are ringing indeed and we need to do better.Princess, you touched many of us while you were here. Don’t forget your mom and dad and grandmas and your three-year-old adopted brother Prince and any other brothers and sisters who decide to come. They and all the rest of us will always need your help.Bye for now.Dr. Johnwww.haitianhearts.org
Categories: Haitian blogs

The MacGyver Cure for Cancer

New York Times on Haiti - May. 25, 2014 - 12:00 am
To prevent a disease that kills a woman every two minutes in the developing world, start with a headlamp.
Categories: Haitian blogs

Welcome. (I loathe you.)

Livesay Haiti - May. 24, 2014 - 12:55 pm

I am on a quick trip to 'Merica take a (1 of 2) midwifery test and see my big girls and pick up Hope to bring back to Ayiti. I've been here very few hours and have enjoyed two hot water events.  I'm nervous and anxious and happy and also a bit sad to be here while the Maternity Center is facing big hurts. (See Chikungunya posts.)
Pretty much the usual amplified feels tortured soul routine. I don't often stray from it. 
Six minutes in the USA and I managed to annoy an American.  
Why why WHY do those U.S. Customs/Border Patrol people hate everyone so terribly much? 
Their training MUST include something about growing an impassioned disdain for the human race. Here is what happened: I went to that automated passport machine, a newish thing, it flags me to go see a live customs person because I have a hyphenated last name and they tell me that anyone with that, or who is a Jr. or a the third will always get stopped because your airline ticket rarely exactly matches your passport name. If the two last names are there with no hyphen you are flagged as a different person than the passport.  
I stood in line like any good American can (sometimes) do. The counter in front of me cleared, the person left. It was straight ahead, only a distance of about six feet. The overhead speaker announces what station is open.  However, my adept little eyes saw it was open faster than the lady at the speaker was notified and my foot fell across the yellow line right BEFORE the speaker said, "Agent Four is now available".  By the time I took three steps and got to agent four, the whole announcement was out.  
Agent four said, "You have to wait until the speaker says to come."  I don't know what my face did, but it was probably a mixture of confused and witchy.  I said, "Yeah, the speaker said it." He said, "You came before it said it." I said, "Are you serious right now? What's your deal?" He waved his hand at me to go back to the line.  
I muttered under my breath, "America, the land of the free to be rude..." He didn't hear me. He sat there in his elevated booth in his swivel chair all smug in his victory over me. I realize that in actuality, this phenomenon crosses international borders, so probably their training program has been translated into all languages.   Had Troy been with me, he would tell me to simmer and say, "It isn't worth it, Tara."  So, I pretended Troy was with me and stepped back to line. 
The overhead speaker said, "Agent eight is now available".  With absolute gratitude to the speaker voice, I went to line eight where I met a person not as far along in their abhorrence training. 

Categories: Haitian blogs

An Illustration

Livesay Haiti - May. 23, 2014 - 11:28 pm
Doing for someone, what they have the ability to do for themselves, steals their dignity.

Categories: Haitian blogs

Chikungunya in Haiti - Part II

Livesay Haiti - May. 23, 2014 - 3:11 am
Emma and FritzleneEdit:  To read a great article that explains in detail how the virus is spread and is likely in the USA at some point, see this article.  This also explains why it is impossible to tell you if visiting Haiti is "safe" or if you'll get this virus. 

 ~     ~      ~       ~

The NPR story on the Chikungunya virus in Haiti can be heard here. Emma is interviewed in the story. She is quite pleased to be the voice for Haitian Moms on this report. (Sunday she asked me if the white guy with the microphone put her on the radio yet. At the time it hadn't been published yet.)

Since 8 days ago when I first wrote about this nasty new (to Haiti) virus, we have seen more pregnant women and more babies with the virus.  Thinking back on things we believe we saw our first case on May 6th. Since that time many more have come with the exact same symptoms. Each new day has turned up new cases.

For newborn babies it seems much more difficult to tolerate.  Emma's baby had it at two weeks of age, but we now have two five day old babies with it. New babies that have not established a solid nursing pattern are at a higher risk. Tonight the Maternity Center transported a baby girl (born early morning last Saturday) to three hospitals.  Thankfully, the third hospital was able to take baby Anna.  At least three of the Maternity Center staff-members have had it and there is a collective holding of our breath as those of us still doing fine all hope to be the ones that don't get it. 

It is rainy season, our area is low lying and we frequently have standing water and thicker mosquito population. We don't know what to expect long term, but in the short term we are so sad to see pregnant women and babies suffering from this disease and we feel a lot bit helpless as we watch it spread so quickly. 

Today multiple people wrote to ask about bringing their group to Haiti (specifically asked about certain areas of the country) and asked, should they still do that.  I am notoriously two weeks behind on email, I want to publish my thoughts about that question here in case I don't get to emails in time.

If you are wondering if you can avoid getting Chikungunya in Haiti this spring/summer, I would answer you the same way I would about Malaria or Dengue Fever or even diarrhea caused by contaminated water or food.  Many people will likely come visit and be fine, they will leave Haiti without a rash or fever or pain. Some people are going to get sick.  There is no way to avoid it. There are precautions you can take, but I saw some of the most cautious and careful people I know with Chikungunya, so I don't think bug spray and hyper vigilance alone is a guarantee of staying free of the virus. 

The only difference between the other things I mentioned and Chikungunya - is that Chikungunya is spreading quickly and many, many people are getting it right now. We are hopeful that it will slow down but right now it is only ramping up.  

I don't have a deep well of knowledge to draw from to bust out any statistics for you, but when asked "Do you think I will get sick if I come next month?"  I can honestly only say, "possibly, yes/no."  It is similar to me asking you to tell me if I will get the flu or a bad cold if I visit you in your state/country during the high season of viral illness in your land. People get sick sometimes - and other times they don't. 

Many here live in conditions that are difficult and at times deplorable.  As DokteJen struggled with pain last week, she and I both thought about how miserable sparse electricity, no running water, and very few options for pain relief must be.  

While we that visit this island or call it our adopted home have reason to be careful and concerned for ourselves, we aren't the ones with the huge challenge of facing this virus without basic conveniences or adequate resources.  

Categories: Haitian blogs

Dominican Republic Passes Law for Migrants’ Children

New York Times on Haiti - May. 23, 2014 - 12:00 am
The law would create a path to citizenship for people who were born to illegal migrants, many of them Haitian, but who have Dominican identification papers.
Categories: Haitian blogs


Livesay Haiti - May. 22, 2014 - 10:00 am

One night we were getting ready to pray together. When we do this, Troy has the kids share if there is anything or anyone on their heart to pray for and we chat a bit before we pray.  Sometimes it goes really well and other times it is a competition of who cares the most about the most people and can come up with the most random requests. If Noah names six things, Isaac will name name seven and Hope can surely think of at least eight. 

Prayer requests as fodder for sibling rivalry, who knew? We openly admit to saying "alright, enough already with the prayer requests - stop!"

On that night, before we prayed we read James Chapter 1.  We read the first 18 verses without any commentary from the peanut gallery. Sometimes with the two littlest ones around nobody is really even listening, for that reason we read for just a short time.  Normally we would have stopped long before a 19th verse but Isaac had gone to the bathroom with a tummy ache and Noah said "keep going".

At Noah's request we read more.

We read this:
Listening and Doing 19 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.  

20 Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.  

21 So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.

After verse 21 Noah raised his hand to stop us and said, "Mama that's me. I get angry quickly. That is for me."

Troy and I looked at one another.  Did a stinkin' little kid just recognize his own tendency toward quick anger? Did he just call himself out?  Did he just own his issue? Did he just show up two-thirds of the adult population? We high-fived with our eyes across the room. (An "eye five"!?!)

We went on to discuss our anger issues for a few brief minutes, listing recent events wherein we were all "quick to anger"  - and then just as quickly as the deep moment of introspection came, someone farted and the moment was gone.

We were grateful for that short conversation with Noah. We know he comes by his tendency toward quick anger quite honestly. (ahem.)

Marc Cohn wrote this in his song "The Things We've Handed Down":

You may not always be so grateful
For the way that you were made
Some feature of your father's
That you'd gladly sell or trade
And one day you may look at us
And say that you were cursed
But over time that line has been
Extremely well rehearsed
By our fathers, and their fathers
In some old and distant town
From places no one here remembers
Come the things we've handed down 
I come from a long line of feisty people. Feisty is just a nice way to say "hot-headed".  I know the truth about my natural tendencies. I know the truth about Noah's too.

Troy, on the other hand, seems so very calm.  But inside he is not as calm as he often appears. That is probably also a 'thing that's been handed down'.  Troy has frequently said, "I had no idea I was angry until I got here to Haiti."

After many months and years, Haiti has a way of bringing out whatever ugliness exists in our lives.

If pride is your issue, in this not to be controlled place, called Haiti, you become prideful times ten. If you had a small anger problem before you got here - your anger problem is now amplified under bright light. If you struggled with judgment, dishonesty, fear, control, or any number of normal-human-things, you can try to fool yourself but you'll never fool anyone watching.  It will be on display as you face it in the frying pan or in the fire.

This is a hard place.

It has a way of exposing things.

So much of our struggle working here has been to keep from becoming permanently angry. (Or getting stuck in whatever might be hiding beneath the anger.) The simplest things such as driving, buying groceries, or helping a friend with a medical need at a local hospital will test every ounce of your patience. The real and perceived lack of change, lack of progress, lack of truth, lack of trust, lack of convenience, lack of compliance, lack of integrity, lack of justice ... It all tries and tests.

Things  happen every day that bring your heart rate up and cause you shoulders to meet your earlobes. Much of that anger can feel quite justified and even righteous ... and a lot of it probably is ... but walking around angry doesn't really change anything.

We found out while talking with Noah that we all desire to work harder and to successfully be- "quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry." As we read from James we had to say to our son: "Buddy, that is us. That is for us too."

Perhaps it's for you as well?

Photo of a quick Maternity Center visit to meet new babies.
This post was edited and republished - Originally posted June 2011
Categories: Haitian blogs

Brand Spankin New Little World Changers

Livesay Haiti - May. 17, 2014 - 9:07 pm
(Three babies in 18 hours at the Maternity Center yesterday.)
Grateful to report they are all doing well, as are their Mommies.  
Left to Right:  Abigail - Anna - Marvens 
Interested in praying for the women that are due soon and our staff?Please go here to learn more.
Interested in helping sponsor a pregnant woman join our program(s)?Please go here to learn more or give.
Categories: Haitian blogs

Haiti: American Missionary Killed

New York Times on Haiti - May. 17, 2014 - 12:00 am
An American missionary in his 70s who had moved to Haiti in the wake of the 2010 earthquake was stabbed to death in Port-au-Prince, the capital, the police and friends said Friday.
Categories: Haitian blogs

Strong in the Broken Places

Livesay Haiti - May. 16, 2014 - 7:19 pm

Today's Events at HMC-

Baby girl, Abigail, born to Brunette this morning.  7lbs9ounces 21" long

 Brunette and Abigail 

  • Two women currently in early-ish labor.
  • One baby acting not normal, not eating well. Had Chikungunya this week but had gotten better, now acting lethargic. Baby Fritzlene needs to get well.
  • One Momma (also on staff at HM) who has lost multiple pregnancies being put on bed-rest in hopes her baby will wait another three or four weeks before coming and she will not go pre-eclamptic.  Prayers for Guerda, please. 
  • Dokte Jen is saying the worst is over and is doing a bit better this evening. NPR hasn't published the story yet, but we will let you know when/if they do.  
Categories: Haitian blogs

Jacmel Businessman Claims Joseph Lambert, a Presidential Advisor, Tried to Have Him Killed

HaitiAnalysis - May. 14, 2014 - 11:24 pm
by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)
Jean Rony Philippe, a 44-year-old businessman and political activist from Haiti’s southeastern city of Jacmel, was driving home from Port-au-Prince on Apr. 3, 2014 when he was ambushed, robbed, shot, and left for dead by a eight heavily armed men. The crime, he believes, was ordered by former Sen. Joseph Lambert, who is today one of President Michel Martelly’s closest advisors.            “My family and I have become a problem for [Joseph ] Lambert,” Mr. Philippe said in a long interview with Haïti Liberté, in which he detailed the ambush and his long history of “political rivalry” with Mr. Lambert. “We are preventing him from controlling the [Southeast] department in its entirety, and I have been working hard to keep him from reigning as lord and master there. That is his problem with me.”
            Despite much talk, especially in the Southeast department, that he was behind the attempted assassination, Mr. Lambert has offered no comment on the attack, nor have his political allies, Sen. Edwin “Edo” Zenny and Sen. Wenceslas Lambert, his brother.            Mr. Philippe’s charges come as restauranteur Woodly “Sonson Lafamilia” Ethéard, another close Martelly associate, turned himself into the Haitian police on May 8 on charges of involvement in a kidnapping ring known as the “Galil Gang.” Mr. Ethéard, who was on the run and in headlines for the past two months, is currently being held in a Croix-de-Bouquets jail alongside Clifford Brandt, another close Martelly associate who was arrested two years ago for heading another kidnapping ring but who has never been brought to trial.            Trained in Haitian universities as an agronomist, Mr. Philippe owns a supermarket and an electronics store in Jacmel and is the assistant treasurer of the Southeast department’s Chamber of Commerce. He is also a political activist in the grassroots Organization of 22 (OG-22), which is close to the Lavalas Family party, and was the vice president of the Southeast’s Departmental Election Office (BED) for the 2009 Senate elections and the first round of the 2010 Presidential elections.             Well-regarded in Jacmel, Mr. Philippe is local success story, having been born a peasant in nearby Belle Anse, where his family is still influential.            As he drove home from the capital on the day of the attack, Mr. Philippe noticed a grey Toyota Rav4 SUV following him. Just before he reached the Port-au-Prince suburb of Mariani, the Rav4 blocked him. Almost immediately his car was surrounded “by eight men, all armed with brand-new 9mm guns.”            After shooting him once, the assailants took 40,000 gourdes (US$886), his phone, two rings, and a bracelet, but he was still negotiating for his life.            “At last I realized that they wanted to kill me no matter what,” Mr. Philippe said. “Still very calmly, I told them, ‘if you want other things, just ask me. But let me live! Here is the key to my car. Take it with everything in it.’”            The men mocked him and shot him again. “I was hit by many bullets and finally, I fell down on the car seat, pretending to be dead,” the victim said.            After the men fled the scene, Mr. Philippe, bleeding profusely, drove himself to a nearby Haitian police station, and the police took him to the nearby hospital of Doctors Without Borders. He was transferred to and operated on at the Canapé Vert hospital. He then traveled to Brooklyn, NY where he underwent more surgery at Kings County Hospital. He is now recuperating in New York City.            Joseph Lambert has long been accused and suspected of involvement in drug trafficking and other criminal activities in the Jacmel region.            In a May 12, 2006 secret diplomatic cable provided to Haïti Liberté by WikiLeaks in 2011, then U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Janet Sanderson wrote that Mr. Lambert was reported to be one “of the best-known narco-traffickers in [Jacmel], distributing money for favors and engaging in vote buying... SIMO [U.S. Army’s Systems Integration and Management Office] and DEA [Drug Enforcement Agency] Port-au-Prince report that information on file reflects that he is suspected of association with known drug traffickers in Jacmel.”            In another secret Aug. 2, 2006 cable, Ms. Sanderson reported that Edmund Mulet, then the head of the UN Mission to Stabilize Haiti (MINUSTAH), complained that “drug trafficking has become an increasingly alarming problem, which is difficult to combat, in part because of the drug ties within the Haitian Government. In this connection, he mentioned Senate leader Joseph Lambert and Security Commission Chair Youri Latortue,” another former senator who is today another close Martelly advisor.            In 2013, a young Jacmel man, Sherlson Sanon, claimed to have worked for Mr. Lambert as a hired gunman for over 10 years and to have been instructed by him to kill Deputies Sorel Jacinthe and Levaillant Louis-Jeune. In his confession to police, Mr. Sanon claimed to have engaged in drug trafficking and murder for Mr. Lambert as well as Sen. Zenny.            Asked by Haïti Liberté what he knew about Mr. Sanon’s charges, Mr. Philippe replied that he had “no elements to verify” the accusations but said that “one day the Haitian judicial system has to free itself from the claws of Joseph Lambert and of the government he belongs to if we want to shed light on certain cases in which he is implicated.”            This may be difficult because, according to Mr. Philippe, “in Jacmel, for example, Lambert named the state prosecutor, the justice of the peace (juge de paix), and the investigating judge also. The local chief justice (doyen) is under his control. If Lambert controls the justice system to this extent, who is going to arrest him, even if he is accused or found guilty of whatever? He will be declared not guilty, and that’s it.”            Mr. Philippe explained he had once reluctantly visited Mr. Lambert, on his invitation, because his brother had been falsely arrested. One phone call from Mr. Lambert to the local judge resulted in his brother’s immediate release from jail, he said.
            “We need another governance, another Haiti,” Mr. Philippe concluded. “We need men and women who choose to go to universities to learn and to create jobs in the country, not choose to become criminals, kidnappers, or drug traffickers.”
Categories: Haitian blogs

Maladi Chikungunya an Ayiti

Livesay Haiti - May. 14, 2014 - 9:32 am

Emma's interview with NPR
Dr. Jen interview with NPR
If I have said it once I have said it a thousand times.  There is no predicting tomorrow on this half of this island in this part of the Caribbean. 
One day you are stitching up wounds and placing IUDs and taking care of very sick babies and being interviewed by NPR while celebrating your birthday and the next day you are in pain, in bed, a victim to the newest mosquito borne illness.
Dokte Jen went from all of that activity to having a fever and pain in a matter of hours. Not a very nice post birthday hangover at all. 
Jen comes in an out of Haiti, as all long time readers know.  Some years we get her for five months, others for three. No matter what, we have learned that when she is here, she will deal with some big things that we are not necessarily totally equipped to deal with on our own. (Although, Jen will take issue with this and say that we are doing great and have come a long way in our skills and nursing care and that we don't need her. She lies like that.) 
The only emergency C-Section ever done at Heartline, Jen was here. When Phoebe decides to have asthmatic crashes, Jen is here (or Jen is on the phone with us all day). The only time my kid had bacterial meningitis, with a seizure, in a hospital without doctors, Jen was here. The only time Chikungunya was hitting our staff and clients like a storm, Jen was (is) here.  I could carry this list on ad infinitum; suffice it to say, when big #%*# goes down, she seems to be here. I am over the top about appreciating her because she is one of my very best friends and because she saved the life of my kid one day in 2008. If it seems like too much fanfare, let me say, it's not. 
In the next day or two you can watch the NPR feed for a story on Chikungunya in Haiti, you will likely hear Emma (first photo) speaking about her case and her baby, Fritzlene.  You will also very likely hear Jen's concerns about the virus that now has her lying in bed in  a lot of pain. 
Suturing ClassI want to share one other thing with you.  Emma is a rock star Momma.  Life has dealt her an insanely unfair hand. I so want her voice on NPR and I want people to know she is an incredibly smart woman with more moxie than most of us dream of having.  This 25 year old is tougher than tough.  Right now she is pulling herself up and out of her unfair circumstances. She knew Fritzlene was sick before a single symptom showed.  She is a Mom in every sense of the word. We sometimes hear that poor folks shouldn't have babies and people make comments that are disrespectful and hurtful.  I know for many that sounds absurd. I wish I was exaggerating. There are some that think forced sterilization of the poor makes perfect sense.  There are some that believe material poverty equals stupidity or no right to a free life. We watch materially poor women provide for and love their babies well every day. Like us, they are not perfect mothers, but they are doing the very best they can with what they have and that in and of itself earns my respect and props.
It is safe to say we are all nervous about this virus. Thankfully it is not fatal. Unfortunately it cannot be treated (Malaria can be treated) and only supportive care can be done to try and make patients more comfortable. We don't have time to be sick and we hate seeing the mommas and babies that already have so much on their plate forced to add yet another thing to overcome.

~               ~               ~

Yesterday a friend was in a moto accident and Dr. Jen taught the midwives of Heartline some advanced fancy suturing techniques while we fixed him up. I don't know if this was annoying or funny to him, but we compared this poor guy's knee and heel to female anatomy multiple times.

Today is a new day, who knows what it will bring?!? We always ask that when Haiti comes to mind, that you please toss up prayers for this wonderful little island nation.  Today, please add Chikungunya and Dr. Jen and the ladies we work with and serve to your prayer list.

Categories: Haitian blogs

In Our Pages: May 12

New York Times on Haiti - May. 11, 2014 - 7:06 am
Highlights from the International Herald Tribune archives: Germany seeks to control Haiti’s ports in 1914; Swiss youngsters aspire to navigate buses through the Alps in 1964.
Categories: Haitian blogs

weird(er) days

Livesay Haiti - May. 8, 2014 - 10:31 pm
I sat down to write about the last couple days.  I started writing rapid fire.  Then I went and read it and realized it cannot be explained.  It sounds way too freaky odd when typed out with details and explanations and names.  It sounds like I believe it is normal because I am explaining it. Instead, I have decided to spit it out with zero context because the context only serves to make me seem like I should be institutionalized.

Some pieces of stories from this week:
  • thigh level flood water - two flat tires -no jack - Costly. 7 hour commute
  • pooping on a kitchen floor (screaming that a baby is coming) (nope - no baby- just poo) to quote Beth McHoul: "many ladies poop while having a baby - this is normal. What happened yesterday was not that. It was a giant labor for a poop not a baby"
  • fainting/unresponsive for ten minutes some sort of psychological seizure with perfect vital signs and coming to because (not any expat staff) someone does this to wake you up. don't ask. we don't understand either.
  • high fevers everywhere we turn (Chikungunya is the talk of the island) Chicken - Goon - Yaaah if only the symptoms were as tame and nonthreatening as the name sounds ( Hear it here)
  • false labors - two of them - both very convincing at times 
  • getting so mad you become unconscious (that's a thing apparently?)
  • very high blood pressure caused by righteous anger
No two days alike. None of it can be predicted. One minute you are innocently leaving a hardware store and the next you are watching cars float by you.  One minute you are conscious, the next you are not. One minute you think a baby is coming, the next you realize there is poop to clean up.  
~              ~               ~
Unrelated photos from last week - a (busy) four baby week ...

You still have time to honor YOUR MOM - A FRIEND - A PERSON THAT STEPS IN AND HELPS AS A MOM - A SINGLE DAD - or any other brilliant idea you have ... See this post for directions about helping a Haitian Momma while also honoring someone you love on Mother's Day. 

(Orders must be placed by Saturday night in order to guarantee Western Hemisphere Sunday delivery.) 
Categories: Haitian blogs

Stateless in the Dominican Republic: Residents stripped of citizenship

HaitiAnalysis - May. 8, 2014 - 12:01 pm
Tens of thousands born to Haitian parents cope with the fallout from a court decision rescinding their citizenshipMay 4, 2014 5:00AM ETby  - Al JazeeraLOS JOVILLOS DE YAMASA, Dominican Republic — When Jenny Sarita Emanier Previlma finished high school, she was the pride of this small rural town, one of only a handful of high school graduates. She dreams of continuing her studies and becoming a doctor. But because Emanier, 24, lacks a national identification document, she cannot enroll in a public university. “I feel sad," she says. “My friends who I finished school with, they’re already finishing university.”Emanier is one of an estimated 210,000 people who have been stripped of their Dominican citizenship because of their parents’ immigration status. She was born in the Dominican Republic, but her mother emigrated from neighboring Haiti in 1982 with a government-issued work permit.In September, the Dominican Constitutional Court ruled that another resident of Emanier’s town, Juliana Deguis Pierre, 30, did not have the right to Dominican citizenship because her parents were “irregular” migrants. It also ruled that the findings in the case should be applied not only to Deguis but to all descendants of irregular migrants — with or without proper documents — born in the country since 1929.
The court specified that Deguis’ parents — Haitians who crossed the border with government permits to work in the sugarcane fields and have lived here for decades — were “in transit.” Under the constitution in place at the time, children born in the Dominican Republic were granted citizenship unless they were born to diplomats or people in transit, a term generally applied to people passing through the country for fewer than 10 days. But the September ruling broadened it to mean those without legal permanent residence.Los Jovillos, where Emanier was born and raised, is a batey, a town built for sugarcane workers. The sugarcane is now gone, but the community remains, a sleepy collection of small colorful homes sitting off a potholed dirt road. Three hundred and sixteen families live here. Some residents travel to work in construction in Santo Domingo, 28 miles away; others grow corn, beans and fruit in converted sugarcane fields.Many from younger generations have been caught up in the legal battle. While the ruling, which cannot be appealed, has shocked many Dominicans, it legalized actions the state has been carrying out for many years. Since the 1990s, thousands of people have been refused national ID cards, necessary to work, register children, get married, open bank accounts, attend public universities and participate in many other civil activities.Emanier made it halfway through the application process. When she was 18, she filled out the necessary paperwork. But when she went to pick up her plastic ID card, the office staff refused to give it to her, saying she was ineligible because of her parents’ nationality. Denationalization?Juliana Deguis Pierre, was denied an ID in 2008. Her appeal eventually made it to the Dominican Constitutional Court, which not only ruled against her but extended the ruling to tens of thousands of people born to Haitian parents. Alessandro Vecchi for Al Jazeera AmericaOpponents describe the impact of the ruling as widespread denationalization. The government disagrees. “The Dominican government did not denationalize anybody,” says Ambiorix Rosario, a representative for the country’s migration office.To the government, people like Deguis and Emanier, born to foreign parents, should never have received a birth certificate. The fact that they did was a bureaucratic mistake the court decision attempts to rectify.The ruling was also meant to deal with the large population of immigrants — mostly Haitian — in the country, whose presence the government sees as a problem. For decades, tens of thousands of people from impoverished Haiti have crossed into the comparatively wealthy Dominican Republic, some illegally and others under a confusing array of binational treaties. Tensions have mounted in the last 15 years.Now the ruling has spurred an international backlash from prominent human rights organizations, including the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR). The United States, Venezuela and other countries, as well as international organizations like the Caribbean Community, are pressuring the Dominican government to find a solution.Human rights lawyers included Emanier’s case in an appeal to the Inter-American Human Rights Commission, which then ordered the Dominican government to protect her and the other appellants from deportation and to give them temporary documents guaranteeing their rights. The government has not provided the papers, though deportations are down.Dominican President Danilo Medina has promised for months to present a plan in response to the verdict; the court ordered that a “regularization” plan be presented within 90 days. There are rumors that the plan will have a naturalization option for people affected by the ruling, but advocates for the denationalized strongly resist that idea, saying it will relegate people like Emanier to second-class citizenship. Another option would be to immediately reinstate people’s citizenship, which would undermine the court decision and alleviate international pressure but anger Dominican nationalists. Seven months after the ruling, a plan has yet to materialize. Years of appealsAntonio Pol Emil — a lawyer, the director of the Dominico-Haitian Cultural Center and an elected representative in San Pedro de Macoris — was born to Haitian parents and was recently unable to renew his Dominican passport.Alessandro Vecchi for Al Jazeera AmericaWithout the sugarcane fields that lured thousands of Haitian migrants and fueled the Dominican Republic’s economic growth during the last century, Los Jovillos has a dilapidated feel. Wood homes tilt precariously, as though they could collapse in a heavy downpour. Peeling painted shutters are clear signs of the passage of time since the sugar industry’s heyday in the late 1970s, before it was privatized.“This society has a minimum of development. It entered the capitalist world through sugarcane. The ones who allowed the Dominican Republic to enter the market with sugarcane are the workers. Our parents had a huge impact on that,” says Antonio Pol Emil, director of the Dominican Haitian Cultural Center in Santo Domingo and the son of Haitian parents. “How do they treat the children of them as not worthy? They do this on discrimination.”Like Emanier and Deguis, Pol, 63, a member of the San Pedro de Macoris city council, has been affected by the ruling. He has held a Dominican passport for more than 30 years, he says, but was sent to the passport office’s legal department when he tried to renew it this year. He says he was ordered, against protocol, to present his birth certificate: “People in front of me didn’t have to. People behind me didn’t have to. Only me.”Pol says he could have obtained his passport “through friends,” but he chose not to, missing three scheduled trips abroad as a result and instead speaking out publicly on the issue.In her home in Los Jovillos, Emanier speaks Spanish to her 3-year-old daughter, Miledy. They live with Emanier’s boyfriend, who is Dominican. Her high school graduation portrait is proudly displayed on a wall in the front room. Miledy should be eligible for Dominican citizenship because of her father’s status. But Emanier says she cannot register her daughter until she gets her own papers. She says that she worries about what will happen when Miledy reaches school age and that she doesn’t want to have any more children because of her legal limbo.Deguis, whose landmark case brought her out of a quiet life with her four children in the batey, is a reluctant icon. She applied for an ID card in 2008; the electoral board’s denial set off years of legal wrangling.Shortly after the September ruling, she was fired from her job as a maid when her new employer belatedly asked to see her ID. Deguis has been unable to find another job, in part because of her lack of papers but also because of her celebrity.She is furious at her situation, but she is also exhausted. At a court hearing in April, Deguis sat, diminutive and silent, behind five human rights lawyers who were fighting the electoral board’s attempt to annul her birth certificate. When the judge ordered a 10-day recess, the entourage trooped out, and Deguis found a bench beneath the staircase in the bustling court building, kicked off her white pumps and lay down, rubbing her aching head. Deguis even had a court hearing on her birthday this year.“She’s tired. That’s what they want, to make us tired,” says Juana Leison Garcia, one of Deguis’ lawyers.NationalismCitizenship cases have been piling up since the 1990s, when the country’s central electoral board started withholding documents, for seemingly arbitrary reasons, from some Dominicans of Haitian descent. At the time, those actions were for the most part illegal.In 1998, in the first legal challenge to these practices, lawyers from the Movement of Dominican Haitian Women brought before the national court and, later, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the case of Dilcia Yean and Violeta Bosico. The two were born in the Dominican Republic to Haitian parents who had been refused copies of the girls’ birth certificates, preventing them from enrolling in school.In what would become a pattern, the national courts ruled against the children, while the international human rights court ruled that the state violated their right to nationality.A 2004 migration law legalized some of the electoral board’s practices, and updates to the constitution in 2010 specified that children born to illegal residents from that time forward were not Dominican nationals. September’s court ruling made that policy retroactive, rendering stateless people born and raised in the country.The rulings are driven by nationalism, racism and fears of a Haitian invasion, advocates say. In its decision, the Constitutional Court pointed to a 2012 survey that counted 668,145 Haitians and their descendants living in the country — 6.87 percent of the Dominican Republic’s population.But strong nationalist views are limited to a tiny elite, many analysts say. Observers accuse the press of aggravating tensions between Haitians and Dominicans by highlighting conflicts and frequently quoting prominent supporters of the verdict, such as the archbishop of Santo Domingo, Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez, and conservative political leaders such as Marino Vinicio Castillo Rodríguez and Roberto Rosario Márquez, head of the electoral board.“The great problem here is this unholy alliance between the conservative press, the conservative church, the political sphere and the economic sphere,” says Gonzalo Vargas Llosa, who leads the UNHCR’s Dominican Republic office. He says the hard-line supporters are few (“You can count them on two hands”) but they are people with political pull.You can’t do anything without identification. You can’t study, work, travel, access the health system. It’s a social death. This situation creates a lot of civil deaths.Antonio Pol Emiledirector, the Dominico-Haitian Cultural CenterThat said, many Dominicans believe there are too many Haitians in the Dominican Republic. In a January poll, 83 percent of Dominicans said they supported a ban on Haitian immigration. But resentment is directed mostly toward new immigrants: In the poll, 58 percent of respondents said children born in the D.R. to undocumented immigrants should be considered Dominican.Deguis is adamant about the issue. “It’s not that I feel Dominican. I am Dominican,” she says. “I was born here in the Dominican Republic, and all my documents are from here … I have never been in another country.”She says the worst part of her legal limbo is the impact on her children. She cannot register them as Dominican, and she worries about their prospects.If the Dominican government does not grant citizenship to those affected, Vargas Llosa warns, “the problem will continue to grow year after year, and in 10, 20, 30 years, you may have an absolutely huge number of stateless persons in this country.”Pol says the situation has already created a “paralyzed” generation and worries about the psychological impact on people like Deguis. She barely speaks Haitian Creole, stumbling over her words and mixing in phrases in her native Spanish. “What would I do in Haiti?” she asks.“It’s an extremely serious situation,” says Pol. “You can’t do anything without identification. You can’t study, work, travel, access the health system. It’s a social death. This situation creates a lot of civil deaths.”
Categories: Haitian blogs