We have had a group staying at the GH with a slightly different purpose then most. They are here studying disaster relief. Asking what went well, what didn’t do well, how to help effectively, and pretty much anything and everything was on the table.
I thought this group had some interesting insights as they gathered information from Haitian leaders, NGO leaders, locals, and pastors.
Whitney gave me permission to share with you this clip from their blog:
When we finally got around to asking the “where do we go from here?” question it felt like we got pretty consistent answers.
- The Haitian government needs to step up
- NGOs need to respect and go through the government (no matter how corrupt or slow it may feel)
- Ask before you give… what do people need?
- Don’t ship something in if you can buy it in country. ie Haiti has a thriving harvest of rice and peanuts… they don’t need our American rice or our Skippy peanut butter
- No one can compete with free. In other words, don’t provide a service that someone previously was being paid for.
- Respect, love and believe in the people you are serving. Empower.
- Education! Don’t just give a man a fish, teach him how to fish.
- Haiti needs role models and vision for a better future, think captain planet and the Cosby Show…
and the list goes on…
So my conclusion? We need to slow down, think and ask before we get a group together and fly to a foreign country. We need to remember that they are their own people and we are not from their culture, and stop getting frustrated when they don’t do things our way. We are guest here in Haiti, we want to help but we still need to remember that it’s THEIR COUNTRY.
I don’t want to end this on a bad note because this adventure has been incredible, and frankly this is just the beginning and I have hope. Hope in the Haitian people, hope in the next generation of leaders in Haiti and the next generation of disaster relief and development leaders. May we always work towards “helping better”.