Individual Actions vs Collectivie Holistic Actions

Mon Pays que j’aime, Mon Pays que Voici

Rubrique de Mireille Sylvain-David – Novembre 2012

Individual Actions vs. Collective Holistic Actions.

Yesterday, I was having dinner with a couple of friends, we were talking about how some families in Haiti, including my parents, have helped and sponsored their maids who are doing pretty good today. I commend these families. But, my friends, I am sorry to say that our support to our “domestics” is an individual gesture that fulfill our patronage needs and make us feel good as Christians. Personally, I do believe in helping. But, I dream to be part of the holistic approach because it is obvious that the majority of the people in Haiti are living under inhuman conditions and they all need help.

In my opinion, individualism has never been a good theory to apply to poverty, we need to be part of the collectivity to bring change and take our brothers and sisters out of the mud. We need to, together, build shelters, educate the children, provide health care and feed the poor not at a face value or at an individual level but as a community deeply involved. The “haves” of each neighborhood in Haiti should have gathered to build charitable centers where everyone commits and gives to the poor whatever they can afford in a regular basis. These donations, under the supervision and the leadership of a reliable person in Haiti (I believe there are still honest people) could be used to assist the desperate people. As a chain reaction, other will follow, and I am very confident that the people in the Haitian Diasporas (Perhaps, I can talk for Miami) will be more than willing to be part of that holistic effort.

Some of you could say that what I am saying here has been already done because there are a few orphanages and charitable organizations in Haiti. But can you tell me what percentage of the population these orphanages are serving? How many people those individual institutions are helping in the back country? Of course, I agree, it is better than nothing. But, I would also argue that those individual efforts are as a needle in a box of hay (dried grass) that could never change the state and the image of poverty in Haiti. Remember, in Haiti more than 70% of a population of almost 12 millions of inhabitants are in desperate need and live in miserable conditions.

Some of you would also argue …what about the government? I presume if the government is seeing us working as a “collective group” it will have nothing else to do than to join our efforts. It will have to spend less money on unnecessary items and spend more money to assist the poor and change their living conditions, not momentarily for the news media, but for good. Of course, it will take time to achieve the changes that will not occur over night. It will even take more than one administrations to do the task. But, if a blue print is made, it will be easy to do a follow up of the work such as the making of proper infracstructure to build shelters in a country opened to natural disasters, almost all year long. They are many urgent needs besides food and education such as a reliable meteorology system. It is imperative not to wait for Miami or Dominican Republic to send the orange flag announcement when a hurricane is coming. The creation of hospitals and the birth rate controls in the country cannot be the duty of the foreign forces that occupied us. It is a national and community effort to suppress malnutrition and endemic diseases.

To conclude, I can tell you that we have a very good people. Their patience, endurance and hope are beyond comprehension. Once in 1804, we, Haitians as a whole, revolted against “the colons” (slave masters) because we had one common enemy: slavery. Today, some of us are so “embourgeoisé” and so “materialistic” that we take for granted the fact that our people are so poor and illiterate. To ease our conscious, we often say: “I do not put them in that condition.” It seems that we picture “our poor” as part of the “sad décor “that makes us feel great in a culture of misery. My friends, for the sake of these people, and for the future of the children of Haiti, we need to act now. Let’s not allow history to judge us as the most monstrous, egocentric and selfish individuals, while, indeed we can be altruistic and generous.

Have a good week.

Mireille Sylvain–David

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