Before its tragedies and Voudù, Haiti is a world that must be placed. It does not seem to be part of Latin America. It does not look like its neighbors – Cuba and the Dominican Republic – except for some features related to music, and does not remember the vast equatorial American countries. Rather it feels about a little piece of Africa that broke off from the west coast and abandoned to the currents, ended up in these warm Caribbean seas. Just biggest in Sicily, Haiti occupies only a third of the island of Hispaniola, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Nevertheless it has more inhabitants of the latter and Cuba which is great four times Haiti.
More than 3 of the 12 million Haitians live in the capital and its hinterland, where we also live the ” Fwaye Papa Nou “(in Creole “Hearth Our Father”, the name of the facility initiated by Pope John XXIII Community). These first special traits, are added almost three centuries of very singular history that make Haiti today a town of dirt roads, overcrowded very dark people with heavy loads on their heads, waste burning light up the night without electricity, and a future very uncertain.
Last November 27 the presidential elections were held, the umpteenth after a year and a half of attempts foundered between the disorders. Unlike earlier, this call to the polls is spent in a serene and peaceful Sunday. The results have led to a landslide victory of Jovenel Moise of Jude Celestin, 55% vs. 19%. Moise is now waiting for the official announcement, expected by February 2017. The motto of his campaign was “tea, dlo, soley ak moun yo” (earth, water, sun and people). He has indeed focused on the participation of the people, on renewable energy and on land use.
Haiti is a country that actually has an urgent need to revive their land from an agricultural point of view, devastated over the past two centuries due to a bad policy in this regard. Nevertheless, there are various questions that are perceived among the population compared to the campaign by Jovenel, which in the past months has studded the country with its signs and has been shown on many occasions. “This costly campaign was financed by the powerful pro-American families who for decades have in hand the country in a much stronger lobby various governments – said Fidel, driver for Italian caritas in Haiti -. All this is likely to make the new president a puppet in the hands of the powerful and is to assume that there is an end to the silent and corrupt agreement between the government and the families of the Haitian. It is one of the most painful in the economy of our country: the families in question cultivate private interests abroad, have a monopoly on infrastructure, trade and on all major activities “.
Faced with all this, the state continues to increase imports to collect customs fees, crumbs that fall from a large banquet table where the Haitians never access. “To have a good policy – Fidel continues – would be important to have politicians: Neg Bannan nan (” banana man “, the nickname given to Jovenel Moise because of its plantations in the north of the country) is a farmer, the last president was a singer, Aristide was a priest. ” “Many Haitians, even among us young people, do not believe in politics and do not trust any candidate – says a boy welcomed here in our Fwaye -. Why they did not vote. But there is also a good portion of us who dream of a different Haiti, better, and still believe in changes that only the policy can be implemented. For me it was important to vote. ”
The turnout reached only 20%. In the provinces it lack an effective electoral system and you get to situations in which the right to vote is almost denied, especially in the areas affected by the cyclone Matthew. There were admirable efforts by some organizations to bring the seats in isolated villages with great damage that the roads have suffered, but a large slice of the population has not been reached. Now the capital is struggling with some unrest created by the minorities who have lost the elections and denounce fraud. They are often the candidates to pay the poor because they go to get arrested burning tires in the violent demonstrations. Nevertheless these are isolated and desperate episodes: with 55% “Man Of Bananas” Hopefully he’ll be clear to everyone that Haiti would face as president for the next five years.
The previous attempt to elections has collapsed on October 6, 2016 with Hurricane Matthew passage that brought devastation, disease and misery in the south and north, with the resulting death toll. “A tree fell on my house fractured pelvis of my dad – tells us Saintenes, our friend the original district of the province of Jeremie -. Two of my nephews aged 17 and 19 years died last month because after the cyclone took cholera. So many of us do not have the means to rebuild their house and still live in schools, with their still today. There is no food, my mom said to eat the almonds of the plants that were saved. I tried to send some bags of rice by some friends went down to the south with a tap tap (ramshackle public transport) but on arrival were attacked. They made a big cut on the driver’s face and stole all pointing guns at my friends. ” Then he goes on to say that the majority of aid stopped the city. In their village they have just received a visit from the Haitian Red Cross.
The farmers who first came to the capital to sell – he says – now I’m here to try to buy food and materials to rebuild but the prices are sky high and they are cut to the bone, with large lakes in place of fields and with roofs of uprooted homes. In the story of Saintenes he adds something mystical when he says that politicians would have the power to divert the storm, but they did not. The 30-year Duvalier dictatorship, based on the use of voudù beliefs, have left strong consequences on the local mentality. Even Saintenes, like many Haitians, puts everything in prayer and in the hands of Pope Bondye (the good God), strengthened by the example of her aunt, Christian and poor, that “with prayer has prevented a big mango tree fell on his home and this is destroyed in the winds at 220 km / h despite the house was of earth and straw. ”
In fact, around the village destroyed, it remained standing only the mud house of Saintenes aunt, next to a large mango tree falling a few meters. By force by these examples you start to sow, to rebuild, to live. Turned to Haiti tomorrow with cursory look gives the impression of a country without hope, exploited and suffered a disproportionate number of tragedies. Sometimes we too, taken by fatigue and a few “bad day”, we do involved with this resigned. But if we went back to work and frees the heart to then report before the eyes it opens a new curtain and this land appears painted by new colors: sharing, perseverance, simplicity and joy, are nuances that intersect in everyday conversation and gestures between people.
It is only necessary to want it, leave home the fears and prejudices towards the other, and be embraced by these people so different from us. “The contradictions and negative aspects of Haiti are visible to all – we trust a man in our neighborhood – the positive ones instead are more hidden.” A “blan” ( “white” as we are called us every day) who lives in the land of Haiti can grasp them only if he decides to come down from his pedestal to know the people, sharing the everyday life. Which it is not only made of temporary sheds. It is crossing the doors of the houses, sitting at the edge of a road with a guy, drinking at six in the morning a “Kafè ak pen” along with some workers of passage that you will discover the most interesting faces of Haiti, human faces. That’s how we try to live the Pope Nou Fwaye. Certainly, for us and for this country, the way to do together is still long, but then, where is not? This is the beauty of life.