No Reservations: Haiti

by fritzg · No Comments ·

This week Anthony Bourdain’s new season of No Reservations began with an episode on Haiti. I have thought for a while this would be a good fit and it was. Bourdain ate street food, stayed at the Oloffson, visited Sean Penn and went home with some cool artwork. He didn’t sugar-coat life in Port-au-Prince. He experienced trying to help and failing. He questioned whether being there and filming if he was actually a part of the problem. All valid experiences, all good questions.

His show was a good way to begin a week where I transition away from Haiti professionally. It ended joining my HAWG colleagues in a meeting with the US Special Coordinator for Haiti questioning US and UN involvement in issues of democracy, governance and sovereignty.

I leave this work with many of the experiences and questions Tony had on his short trip. My two years with Haiti were divided by the January 2010 earthquake. Before, most energies were spent getting to know the country that is one-third of the island of Hispaniola and trying to figure out how to best engage and encourage others to do so. After the quake, energies were spent providing relief and advocating for just responses by the US and other donor countries. Then there was cholera. Then the election disaster that was foreseen and avoidable. And MINUSTAH is still there, and will be for the foreseeable future.

During the last year I asked many questions about the role of non-profits and Haiti and what I was doing. I didn’t come up with many answers. Could things have been done better? Probably. Could they have been done worse? Definitely. While  I begin a new chapter in my career tomorrow and Haiti will no longer be in my professional portfolio, it will always be in heart. I leave confident I gave her my best and I leave with “Noooo Reservations.”

Tags: awareness · walk

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