Update on Challenges in Haiti

From MFK Executive Director and Founder, Dr. Patricia Wolff

Perhaps you have read the papers or seen the news and know that there is much turmoil and paralysis and some violence in Haiti. The demonstrations since last summer have been financed by very rich opponents of the present government. None of these people have sterling ethical reputations. The situation for the majority of the country is 19 % inflation in the last year, gas shortages, road blocks and demonstrations which keep sick and injured people from the clinics and hospitals, and prevent workers from getting to work and acquiring food and water. The schools are often closed. Same with the banks. Non-rich people suffer and progress comes to a halt.

The bright spots in all this is that many of our workers have come to work despite spending 3 hours each way, working around road blocks and avoiding violence on the road. Others came in every two days even when we were closed to run the machinery for a few hours to preserve food safety and to fix the heat treatment equipment. The security guards are standing by and turning on the generators every day to keep the vitamins cool. One of our workers went by bus to Santiago, Dominican Republic, to buy disinfectant necessary to produce. The ports have been closed for several weeks so we are getting close to running out of other raw materials, too.

We are very inspired by the courage and dedication our workers have shown. We see examples everywhere in the north of Haiti of resilience and persistence in the face of this newest hardship and slowdown of progress. Because the gas stations are closed due to the owner’s fear of violence, individual Haitians are selling juice bottles of gas to their neighbors. Market ladies bring their produce to market optimistic that customers will find some way to come and buy. Proper restaurants are closed but little steaming pots of food pop up on the highways and crossroads. Up and down the major roads there are cell phone chains that tell motorists what is up ahead. Haitians have come to not expect much of their government and mostly know they must make the best life they can given the circumstances. They depend on friends and neighbors.

MFK is here to be a friends and neighbor, walking hand in hand with the daily coping and problem solving that so defines Haiti’s resolute and resilient people.