A Long Road Ahead: Leveraging Culture in Haiti's Reconstruction

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					                                                     interview


A Long Road Ahead
leveraging Culture in Haiti’s reconstruction
                                                                                                       an interview with
                                                                      Michèle Pierre-louis

                            Michèle Pierre-louis is the former Prime Minister of
                            haiti. she also served as haiti’s Minister of Justice and Public
                            security. in the private sector, she has worked in a variety of
                            industries, including education and banking. she has directed
                            the Knowledge and Freedom Foundation since its founding
                            in 1995.


   What progress has been made since January, and                    the streets, including me. My home had collapsed, and I
where is Haiti now?                                                  was trying to get by. everyone was scared of staying inside
                                                                     buildings because of the repeats and the aftershocks. we
     Haiti is still in an extremly difficult situation because all
                                                                     had aftershocks almost every day for months, and what you
the millions of people who lost their housing, belongings,
                                                                     could hear in the evening were religious songs, sung all over
and loved ones are still in the street. I’m not sure that we
                                                                     the city. People used their religious belief to ask God to save
have even counted the dead properly because there are lots
                                                                     Haiti, and that’s what was repeatedly said in the songs: “Save
of neighborhoods where the dead are still under the ruble.
                                                                     us.” “Save Haiti.” “Save the country.” the songs were really
Usually after two months, a country that has been hit by an
                                                                     nice, and it was really soothing, even for me, to hear them.
earthquake is already in the phase of recovery. we are still
                                                                           But in Haiti there are lots of religious sects, mostly Prot-
in the phase of a relief effort: providing food, water, and
                                                                     estant, mostly american. I don’t know, but I’ve heard that
medicine. we are not even in the phase where we can get
                                                                     there was a religious preacher in the United States who said
temporary housing for the people who are in the streets or
                                                                     that the earthquake was the result of Haiti’s having signed a
in the camps.
                                                                     pact with the devil. It was a US preacher who said so, one of
     also, we must think of the funding that is necessary to
                                                                     those tv evangelists. and it’s been repeated in Haiti by a lot
undertake the incredible process of reconstruction that lies
                                                                     of Haitian preachers: we are paying for something. there has
ahead. there is still a lot to be done, and my real fear is of
                                                                     been a big debate because even the Catholic church did not
what will happen if nothing is done rapidly enough for all
                                                                     agree to that posture. In a way it’s very damaging to hope;
those people who are in the street. the rainy season has
                                                                     it’s very damaging to the traditional resiliency that Haitians
started, so they are in the mud. If no
				
DOCUMENT INFO
Description: In an interview, Michele Pierre-Louis, former Prime Minister of Haiti, talked about leveraging the culture in Haiti's reconstruction. Pierre-Louis said Haiti is still in an extremely difficult situation because all the millions of people who lost their housing, belongings, and loved ones are still in the street. They are still in the phase of a relief effort: providing food, water, and medicine. Rebuilding the education system is rebuilding the future of Haiti. Disaster preparedness should start in schools with the kids. But also decentralization is important. The situation they are in today -- they cannot think of getting out alone. They don't have the resources, whether human, financial, or material. She doesn't think any foreign country can know best what's good for them, but at the same time they need them. She believes that culture is important. It's about time that they project a different image so that their perceptions of themselves and their identity is better known in the world.
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