The rise in kidnappings begs another question: why do things seem to be getting worse in Haiti? My husband John, who has been coming here for more than 25 years, says in terms the illness, malnutrition, condition of the streets, etc., he has never seen Haiti worse off. “Today is Haiti’s worst day,” he frequently says. Moreover, when we ask Haitians of all economic backgrounds what they think of current conditions, they confirm that it’s never been so bad. An attorney we know told us that none of her five adult children live in Haiti. In the slums, there are fewer people from international organizations to provide relief. hundreds of thousands of people who live in the slums are hungrier, sicker then ever, and now they have to dodge bullets, often unsuccessfully.
So why are things bad? Perhaps more importantly, how can conditions in Haiti improve? Undoubtedly, the answers to the second question have their roots in the first. I am going to spend the next few posts trying to explain why things are so bad and what can be done to improve them. I am a better critic than problem solver, especially when it comes to large-scale questions involving why a country isn’t functioning well. But I’ll give it a crack.
As a side note, this is the longest time that either John or I have been in Haiti, or even away from our hometown of Peoria. We’ve been here almost six months. On this trip, I’ve experienced Haiti mainly vicariously through John, as I’ve spent most of my time in the confines of our hotel caring for our three-year-old son, whose adoption is almost complete. John, as usual, has been working with the sick and poor. The last few weeks he has traveled into Cité Soleil and other slums with a mobile medical clinic. As I proceed with the broader question of how we can improve life for these people, I will post pictures that John has taken during his work. Hopefully, this will “keep it real” as the kids say. The people in these pictures are why the questions so urgently need answers and actions.