Back from a week up in on the coast in Las Terrenas... met with 20 representatives of the now form association of Haitian Workers in Las Terrenas - who are now composing a letter of intent.
Of the twenty who were assembled, none has a job.
There are now five Haitian congregations in Las Terrenas.. an estimated 5 to 7 thousand Haitians in a town of 30,000. Most do not have papers to be here - no passports, no visas, children with no official birth certificates.
Finally the DR has started a program for work permits for Haitian workers here. Already, the big Dominican companies have registered over 350,000 Haitians. Since the Dominican companies have to register the workers, the buik of the Haitians who are here - who are informal workers - will not be touched.
The President of Haiti has called for the Haitians in the DR to come home
The majority of the Haitians in LT wish to go home.
Just as it seemed that Way was Opening.... a huge boulder fell down in the middle of the opening. The wife of the young man, Dieudonne Braveus, who has been working on the organizing for the last 6 months .. fell very ill and asked to return to Haiti.
I gave them the last few hundred dollars that I could spare. Over the last months I have given him $40 or $50 and large jars of peanut butter but he had supported himself. But two months ago, he took a job laying tiles and was owed $10,000 pesos which the boss did not pay.. so Dieudonne lost his house.
I did speak to the members of the Association -- that it was up to them to help one another.. that they should go with him to see the Dominican who had not paid.
But it is too late now. Dieudonne left another man in charge but I am afraid that I have perhaps made matters worse and not better..... and am wary lest I feed hungry people promises of stones.
I will be getting some of the baskets from Haiti by the end of the month..to start to sell them to use the funds to support the project..But perhaps that is just a small business ,, not enough..
and perhaps there are friends who will help to find Dieudonne a space in northern Haiti.. since it certainly would be great to have someone on the other side who could scout out projects and send for workers from the Quiskeya Corps.
but I am disheartened. And wondering if I should continue...
or if I will be allowed to lay this witness down.
So I am here, on a narrow path on the edge of the cliff, peering around the boulder.
There is a Quaker adage
I am a Quaker.. in case of emergency;, please stay silent