Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Four years ago, John and I were in Haiti during the U.S. presidential election. Most Haitians we asked were pulling for Kerry. They were also highly knowledgeable, knowing that the electoral votes in Wisconsin were up for grabs. When Kerry wasn't elected, they were stoic; Haitians are used to disappointment.

Well, I wasn't in Haiti yesterday, but I know the general reaction: jubilation. The happiness of having someone who has African roots, like they do, being elected president of their powerful neighbor to the north is a huge cause for celebration. The United States isn't just any country to Haiti; thousands of Haitians have relatives in the U.S., the promised land, who send money back to their poor, trapped relatives. I would bet that per captia, more Haitians have a dream of coming to America than people from any other country in the world.

And then there's this: the president of the United States often has a more profound affect on the lives of non-Americans than he does Americans. Just ask the Iraqis. Or the Haitians.

For example, in the last 15 years, the Haitians saw one American president, Bill Clinton, restore to office the democratically elected president of Haiti, Jean-Bertrand Aristide and another American president George W. Bush, depose the democratically elected president of Haiti, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. When you study Haitian history, you realize that it's impossible to overestimate the influence, if not outright control, the the United States has over Haitians politics and governance. That is, when we pay attention or care one way or another at all.

So the hopes and promise that Obama represent are not just for Americans. The people of Haiti have a stake in these dreams too.


Unknown said...

Hi Mrs. Carroll,
Your husband brought one of my brothers to America for open-heart surgery. He's doing fine now. But, the work of Dr. Carroll has greatly inspired me. I'm currently in medical school in Philadelphia, and feel called to do similar work. I'm wondering if it would be possible to go down with him to Haiti for a few weeks this summer? Thank you,
Bridget McGovern

Anonymous said...

I have never used this site and am not familiar with it. I am a N.P. going with another N.P. and two nurses in Jamiuary to PAP. We are collecting supplies and money to buy meds to take with us. We will meet a doctor there. What do you use to treat G.I. parasites, what are the most needed antibiotic for treatment of malaria and typhoid? We will have OTC's. Any suggestions?

Maria Carroll said...

Hi Bridget,

Thanks for your comment. Why don't you e-mail Dr. John at and tell him about your interest in going to Haiti.

Thanks and glad to hear your brother is doing well.


Maria Carroll said...


If you will please e-mail my husband Dr. John Carroll at, he will answer your questions.

Best wishes on your upcoming trip to Haiti.