By Jean H Charles
The year 2014 is at its dawn; and already a string of good news is visiting with the Republic of Haiti, so often the venue of bad news. One of its native sons, Dany Laferriere, albeit now a citizen of Canada has been admitted as an immortal member of the august chamber of the French Academy. The World Bank is predicting that Haiti, along with Guyana, is the only country in the Caribbean poised to reach a growth index of more than four percent.
The United States has taken the position to clear Haiti from a secret embargo that prevented travel agent consolidators from selling to travel agent retailers the country’s sun, surf and sand. The president of Haiti, Michel Martelly, following a hemispheric survey, has been found the most popular leader of the Western Hemisphere, sharing that title with the president of Ecuador, the most recent recipient of that award. And last but not least, after some 150 years of diplomatic relations with the Vatican, Pope Francis I has named a new Haitian cardinal. His eminence Chibly Langlois is a papal candidate upon a vacancy at the conclave.
Last year at this time, I called upon St Michael and St Laurent to come to the rescue of Haiti because the string of bad news at the beginning of the year was strong enough to rock the boat and cause Haiti to sink into the abyss. I guess they did: 2014 is filled with pleasant surprises for Haiti. The politicians who took pleasure in destroying each other a la French model are sitting at the same table under the leadership of the newly appointed cardinal to discuss the business of the city instead of debating their own personal and vain ambitions.
The rainy season that usually starts in April is showing signs that it might come early, allowing the crops so thirsty for water to come to full maturity.
Albeit a native son, I have lived long enough abroad to look at Haiti with the eyes of a foreigner. I take delight in admiring the dignity of the women, the generosity of the men and the resilience of the children. Rich and poor, the women of Haiti display a sense of dignified elegance that causes one to question whether they were molded by the same parent. The street vendor dressed in a designer outfit recycled from the United States has a regal bearing that calls for a snapshot.
The men of Haiti, similar to the Hassidic Jews, have a special devotion to their women, worshiped as a deity; the women of Haiti refuse to believe they may have some of the most generous black males who willingly go the extra mile to satisfy their real and venal needs.
The children, albeit innocent, have the edge of living in a difficult country where the institutions and the infrastructure are quite inhospitable to its citizens. The young child in the rural area must walk a long distance to reach a school where the conditions for learning are not up to par. Yet the business of schooling is a growth industry in the country. Port au Prince or Cape Haitian, the largest cities of Haiti, are almost dead once school is not open. With almost all the children of Haiti going to school, the future cannot be but better.
Haiti needs the prayers of all its friends to remain in the glow of good luck. 2014 is an electoral year. With its culture of winner take all, and politics the fast way to wealth creation, dark days might be ahead for Haiti. May St Laurent, the saint that is more effective than voodoo practice, protect Haiti! In the meantime, with the glacial wind visiting the Northeast of the United States, watching the Jazz Festival of Port au Prince in a clear and perfect night that looks more summer than winter, while the citizens of New York characterize their weather as “terrible”, it is good to be in Haiti. Hoping the loas and St Laurent will keep Haiti on the good side of lady luck so the string of good news will last all through the year.