Linda - Thank you for your continuing input, even though it is...

Larry Mulligan - March 24 2009, 7:37 PM

Linda -

Thank you for your continuing input, even though it is critical.

When I received your latest contribution, I had started reading Dambisa Moyo's Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working And How There Is A Better Way For Africa, and wanted to finish it before getting back to you. Even though it focuses on another continent, I believe it is relevant to Haiti, and Ms. Moyo's thesis and approach supports much of what you say. We certainly need to be suspect of our motives, as well as learn from the mistakes others have made in the past.

You encourage us to take the time to understand the real issues affecting our friends in Cerca la Source.

That is excellent advice, and I hope what we are doing is following it. To date, our friends have told us that the education of their children was their priority, so for the past 5 years we have tried to help them w/ that. From what I observed while in Haiti for my short week, I think we have made good strides toward that objective.

Now, we are considering whether we can move beyond that to help w/ economic security.

We are moving slowly, too slowly for some. One of the 1st things I did was to open a conversation on this blog, to which you were kind enough to contribute.

I then did some initial research, focusing on Jatropha curcas, because our friends had expressed some interest in it. Since that was not a food crop, & should only be grown in areas where food crops cannot, I also wanted to see if anything could be done on that score.

I was encouraged to find out that breadfruit was being grown in a nearby community, because I had learned that its shelf life may be stretched by converting it to a flour, and that there is a recently developed process which may be available to our friends as a pilot project.

That being said, these are only ideas to discuss w/ our friends, at this point, which I hope to do on our next trip, if not before (which will depend on whether we are able to fix our communication challenges, which we are also working on).

As we go forward, I hope we take the time & make the needed effort to, as you say, really understand the problem.

You cite the proverb, "wash your hands than [then?] dry the floor", someone has suggested to me another which we are trying to follow, "piti, piti wazo fe nich li" (spelling?), "little by little, the bird builds its nest".

I look forward to your continued help in that process.

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