Archive for January, 2010

Haiti, koman ou ye?

January 27, 2010

“Koman ou ye?” means “How are you?” in Haitian Creole. The answer tends to be “M pa pi mal” – which means something like “Not too bad.” After the horrible earthquake, Haiti and its people are not well. All the help that is conceivable and possible is so badly needed for a country that had already been ailing so much for so many years. And yet, Haiti’s people are incredible. During the years I lived in Montreal, Canada, I knew quite a few people from the Haitian community. I was always impressed with their love of life and people, positive spirit, love of music, dance and play, and deep spirituality. I learned to appreciate the music of Manno Charlemagne. I believe that the spirit of Haitian people will carry them through … I only hope that aid will be effective, and that the millions of dollars donated will reach the people who so badly need that support. I am worried about a similar risk that Bernard Kouchner, the founder of Medecins Sans Frontieres and now the French Foreign Minister, warned about after the Tsunami five years ago: That of each Euro or Dollar donated, only 50 cents would reach the people in need, and the other half would be lost in the many aid organisation’s administrative overhead … And I agree with Kouchner pleading in mid-January this year: “… our attention and efforts must go beyond immediate humanitarian relief. We must engage the Haitian people and help them on their path toward a new future.” I read in the news that Haiti is asking for help over the next 5 to 10 years. That looks like a reasonable period. Our commitment must be long-term.