Updated: May 2
Dear Mr. Ambassador and Embassy Staff,
Thank you for opening your doors and allowing me to spend an evening in this beautiful and inspiring place. To all of you who have joined us to make this evening possible, I thank you for your support. This is an evening that I will never forget and I am grateful to be here with you all.
Allow me to talk to you for a few moments about the wonderful country of Haiti that we all cherish, whether we are Haitians or not.
For many, the glorious history of this country we call Haiti seems to have been extinguished forever. Today, whether inside the country or internationally, despair is almost the norm, and only bad news spreads. And in reality, it is true that terrible things are happening in the country every second. The necessity of a rescue mission, which seems to be mandatory at this point, overshadows wonderful work and important projects that can and must replace the image of Haiti as a hopeless cause. For those of us who work regardless of the political roller-coaster, we see so much more in Haiti than even our own government.
Sincerely, despite all the negatives, I refuse to be fatalistic. I will keep my optimism and I will stay among the small steadfast group that still believes there is hope. Our future is brighter than the dim appearances. I am not willing to accept this narrative of failure. Indeed, Haiti still has much to offer the world.
Faced with the uncertainty that is taking up more and more of our view of the future, for the survival of our magnificent planet and of our very species, the resilience of the Haitian people stands out. This level of human resolve will be an indispensable tool to meet the greatest of challenges ahead in our world. I speak to you knowingly of my country. I see that even as people among us may get carried away by discouragement and give up, the birds still sing melodiously and sow seeds everywhere. Sun, wind, and rain harmoniously work together to make plants grow and bloom. The sea is alive. The planet speaks its truth to us. We must listen and do our part to stay strong.
It is an observation, the multiple bilateral interventions at a government level--aimed at providing solutions--have not had great success. Everyone is trying to find causes and culprits for this lack of results. My friends, I recommend you not to follow this path that leads to false outcomes. Instead, let us unite and converge our efforts – like we see in the brilliant mixtures of colors of our painters on these paintings around us. The solutions will arrive through hard work, in perfect unity, in harmony and synchronization of the various parts, in sharing a common vision and above all by working in a different way. I give you the example of our small and powerful project H.O.P.E/ASB. Borgne is still alive because we have H.O.P.E.
At HOPE, we have made a huge difference in an environment where failure is perceived to be the norm.
The difference is made by a unique partnership model and perfect collaboration among our unpaid staff in the United States, our paid staff in Haiti, and the community of Borgne.
We hold firmly to CORE VALUES:
Make the decision to work as a team
Respect the values of the community
Work together in the field to research and understand the causes of problems and develop plans for solutions.
Always seek the active participation of the community.
Consistently promote an atmosphere of respect and trust with the community.
Never let go… NEVER GIVE UP.
Faced with such complex problems that plague our society, solutions must be sought from the roots. For a healthy community to blossom, we realize that we must work toward a healthy planet. For this we take a holistic approach with three main pillars: Health, Education, and Economy together, embracing very specific approaches (Sante Nan Lakou and Alfasosyal). Shields, Nellie, Mike, Jim, and the other H.O.P.E members and supporters understand this, they embrace this model, and we walk together.
Believe me, the trials have always been numerous and constant and the results have remained rather encouraging. Here are some milestones along the journey:
Whereas Borgne was rated as the worst health care in northern Haiti in 2005, we are now rated as the number TWO public institution in this department.
Our Sante Nan Lakou Health model has reduced maternal and infant morbidity and mortality in the municipality at astonishing levels.
As my friends who walk with us know so well, the commune of Borgne is very difficult to access and there are a good number of people in very remote places without even a birth certificate, and many who had never seen a doctor. Our mobile clinic program reaches every single inhabitant of the municipality and now attracts other neighboring municipalities.
We approach massive challenges--such as COVID or cholera-- that prove the power of a decentralized, community-based educational approach to ANY problem.
We are one of the few institutions that has been operating 24/7/365 for 17 years.
We all have the right to a brighter new day tomorrow. Come, let us work harder and together for a better day in AYITI. Walk with us in Borgne as we lead the way forward.
Let’s walk together!
Embassy of Haiti
11 November, 2022