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Haiti - Reconstruction : Reflections of Mgr Pierre-André Dumas
"...Reconstruction is slow because you have to listen, support, take time to know what people need [...] We must work together to give Haitians the opportunity to be the protagonists of the reconstruction and development actors . We should not do it for them. We must help people to recover, to rebuild together and show solidarity.
There have been two major phases after the earthquake. First emergency: in association with all Caritas it was necessary to meet the needs first. [...] The emergency response was used to limit the number of victims, to keep the other alive. The urgency overtakes us but we must always think in terms of development and rehabilitation to rebuild the country. It takes time because you have to listen, support, guide for not making the same mistakes. We must ensure that people are not only in position to receive. It is necessary to have a commitment of the population in the long term to help them to stand up.
Today education is one of our priority projects because many schools were destroyed [...] We must continue to push so that the Government's program for the free education be established as this is provided in the Haitian Constitution. At the level of education, another important need is to train teachers to improve the quality of education that is given.
Caritas Haiti has also focused on health with the cholera crisis [...] The whole education that needs to be done, we must motivate people, raise awareness to teach them how to treat the water.
[...] Caritas Haiti has also developed a section of social economy because in the rural economy, there is a problem of de-capitalization of farmers. It is necessary to grow the local economy so that Haitians can take care of themselves and are not only in position to receive. At agricultural level, we must help farmers to increase local agricultural production. This intervention also includes an environmental component because of deforestation.
Caritas Haiti accompany the Haitian people in the relocation. Before the earthquake, in Haiti the sign of wealth was concrete. We must now help the people to realize the importance of doing things right. Invest in time, make sure not to repeat the same mistakes that in the past.
[...] The country is slowly beginning to recover. We begin to see the first results of aid. We must continue to inspire small signs of hope to the Haitian people. We must restore hope [...] The earthquake was a cry, a great suffering following which the Haitians have responded with solidarity. [...] there are more joy to give than to receive. We found the traditional meaning of expressions such as "what is done is all" or "the neighbors are family." The earthquake resulted in the return to a simpler and more spontaneous solidarity.
We must learn of the lesson of Haiti [...] The challenge is to live together: a new solidarity through the realities of life of everyday. Haiti should be supported to meet this challenge to see and do otherwise. We need foreign expertise, but it is necessary to anticipate that solidarity in order to be pro active rather than reactive. We need to encourage effective solidarity, by articulating things better, respecting local cultures, traditions.
Haiti has seen a lot of antagonism and polarization. Today people need peace and national reconciliation. We must seek to build positive relationships between people under the difficult history of the country. We need a national dialogue to overcome the traditional patterns and of the situations of tensions [...] Blacks, whites, mulattoes fought each; elites and campaigns opposed [...] Haitians have been built on differences and have not been able to do a country. We must now build bridges so that the cooperation is a cooperation free of suspicion, prejudice and thus be true brothers...
[...] The Church has a role of vigilance, of denunciation of the political life. Where there is vulnerability we must be present, be a family fraternal, build relationships. [...] This new collaboration should help to empower themselves, to become autonomous, to build together the future. The cooperation should be an exchange and Haiti should be mistress of brotherhood. We must think with the Haitian people to move forward and that it feels involved. It is necessary to overcome the mentality of resignation and help them get back up so that the Haitians can transform their reality.
The philosophy of the entire Caritas network, is to help people empower themselves, [...] Today, we must remain on the hopeful signs that are born and find the way of sharing : let the wounds of the past in the past without renounce and seek the best interests of the nation.
Peoples have interior treasures to live life in a positive way. Thus, the Haitian crisis can allow to the rest of the world to have new standards, other criteria. The Haitian people is a people that sings and dances despite the suffering. It shows how with little, we can give meaning to life. This people cries out to live differently and calls us to find our common humanity so that the charity becomes real."
See also :
HL/ HaitiLibre / interview by Emily Randrianarison