Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Ile A Vache

Now playing:
Wyclef Jean - 24 é Tan Pou Viv
via FoxyTunes

I have been having an ongoing discussion with a cyberspace friend from Haiti, Patrick Lucien, who now lives outside Boston. Like many Haitians in the diaspora, although he lives in the United States, his heart is still with his homeland. His family comes from the south of Haiti, from the region known for its natural beauty. Les Cayes, the third largest city in Haiti, after Port au Prince and Cap Haitian, has, he reports, a growing business community.

He is particularly interested in the development of Ile A Vache
an island off the coast, about the size of Manhattan, with a population of 15,000, two small, high end resort hotels, a health clinic, and a few schools. We talked a bit about his dreams for the development of a little "eco-tourist" bungalow development on a property he owns with some partners.

"No sex tourism" he said.

"Sign me up." I said, having seen more of that in my nine months living on the coast here than I ever wanted to see or imagine.

"And we would like to attract people who might be interested in the community, might wish to contribute."

I might know some people like that.

"We would like to help the people build guest rooms on their homes so that they can transform them into little bed and breakfasts."

AH- now That would be a learning experience for los/las gringos!

"And we are interested in helping perhaps to get a portable desalination plant so that they can get pure drinking water. And solar electric power. And helping them become self-sufficient in food production. We will need to get a launch."

I asked him why he did not make the development of the "resort" part of his existing foundation, which has all its proper papers in the US?

"Ah, no. Then some NGO (non-governmental organization, i.e. non-profit) will come and put their name all over it and tell us what to do. We are tired of that in Haiti. We want to show that you can do something as a business in Haiti and make a profit. I once saw a website of a charity which was running an operation in Haiti and they had a picture of a naked Haitian boy, looking miserable, on their webpage. I wrote to them and said I thought it was child pornography - how would they like it if I had a picture of a naked American child on my web page. They took it down."

So I have joined him in his efforts. To help make the place ready for your visits.

I will go and stay on the island for a month this winter. I have my portable mosquito netting, my no-battery hand shake rechargable flashlight, my DEET insect repellent, my LED headlamp, my Creole- English Dictionary. I offered to go there and sit with the women, talk with them, see what they want. Patrick has done a wonderful job of talking with the men, the mayor, and all those.......

but--- well, we know, don't we--- if you want to really get things done, you have to talk with the women and find out what they want.

You may support this effort in any one of three ways:

Donate to my witness by Paypal on the button on the right.
Give a tax-free donation to the school.
Become a partner, if you are like minded.

Mesi d'avant.

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