Haiti – Beauty ‘Only a Mother Can Love’

Go Lean Commentary

The Caribbean is among the most beautiful addresses on the planet.

Consider the tropical islands, coastal beaches, waterscapes, flora, fauna, etc.

This is true among most of the Caribbean member-states in the region …

… Haiti, not included! (Just yet! Stay tuned!)

While this country has some beautiful terrain, poverty and mis-management has sullied a lot of its natural beauty. In some places, Haiti is a land where “only a mother can love”.

Yet still, many mothers have stepped in, stepped up and are showing love to this land!

May we all be inspired by their examples. Consider the news story in this article here:

Title: These Haitian women were doing great in U.S. — and then returned to aid quake-hit nation

Croix-Des-Bouquets, Haiti — Regine Theodat had just passed the bar exam and at 25 years old was beginning a promising, if predictable, career in U.S. corporate law. She went to work, to spin class, home and to bed.

“Wake up and repeat,” she recalled. “I was very much a corporate lawyer — very strait-laced; not very adventurous.”

Then on Jan. 12, 2010, a magnitude-7.0 earthquake struck Haiti, killing hundreds of thousands of people. And the child of immigrants who left Haiti for greater opportunities did something shocking. She traded her comfortable life in Boston for the chaos of the poorest country in the Americas.

Aid groups and volunteers from around the world also poured into Haiti. Most have left. But eight years later, Theodat is still here.

She is among a small army, most of them women, who returned to Haiti and started businesses. Theodat makes food and cocktails. Another woman supplies castor oil beauty products to North American stores, including Whole Foods. Some of the others sell fruit smoothies, jewelry and chocolate.

More Haitians may soon be returning from the U.S., but not voluntarily. The Trump administration announced in November that “temporary protected status” for 59,000 Haitians will end in 2019. Many will have limited opportunities back home. VIDEO

What’s more, remittances make up almost a third of Haiti’s GDP, so for each person deported, several local people suffer. For those with education, drive and money, however, moving back is a chance to create jobs and help change practices that many believe perpetuate poverty.

Family members thought Theodat was insane for going back to a country they’d left in the 1980s.

“They said, ‘She’ll be back. The first demonstration that happens, she’ll be back. The first rocks she sees thrown, she’ll be back,’” she said. She has indeed seen a lot, but she has stayed.

Theodat spent her first year running a human rights clinic, until she found out that Haitians really wanted something else. “People kept asking me for jobs,” she said.

So she teamed up with two collaborators from her human right work, including a man she later married. They launched MyaBèl, a restaurant and cocktail bar in Croix-des-Bouquets, the hometown of Theodat’s family located northeast of Port-au-Prince.

Then they started bottling drinks and sauces in a middle-class house on a dirt side street and began a farm to supply fresh ingredients.

MyaBèl now sells products at more than a dozen Haitian supermarkets and boutiques. It employs 18 people and works with 65 farmers. This year, Theodat was nominated for an entrepreneur of the year award.

Jezila Brunis, 37, a single mother of three, makes minimum wage, about $5.50 a day, in the workshop. She’s able to send her children to school, and she likes the process of washing and chopping ingredients, feeding them into mixers and cooking them on a stove-top. “I’m always learning new things,” she said.

Even paying the minimum is a challenge because other costs — generators, fuel, imports and wear-and-tear on vehicles — are extremely high, Theodat said. Hiring and managing people is difficult because so few held jobs before, and they often fail to do basics, such as keeping kitchen doors closed, getting to work on time and finishing tasks quickly. Five out of the restaurant’s original six employees lost their jobs.

Most Haitians subsist in part on farms or work informally, so unemployment is hard to measure. But the World Bank says almost 60% of Haiti’s 11 million people live in poverty. In May, the insurance company FM Global rated Haiti the worst place to do business among 130 countries it studied.

Theodat came face-to-face with endemic corruption the first time she went to pay taxes. She was told she needed to pay someone to speed up the process. “I refused,” she said. “And then I just sat there until I was able to do it the way I was supposed to do it.” She did the same with immigration and customs.

Some of the émigrés couldn’t cut it. “They came, they tried, Haiti pummeled them, and they left,” said Isabelle Clérié, who came home to work with local entrepreneurs after studying anthropology in the U.S. “Some were able to stick it out, and through some truly big challenges.”

“One of the most valuable exports from Haiti is our brains,” she said. “It’s been really great to see these people come back.”

Unlike Theodat, Corinne Joachim Sanon long planned to start a business in Haiti. She grew up in Port-au-Prince, graduated from high school at 16 and headed to the University of Michigan to study industrial engineering. She was in Wharton’s business program when the earthquake struck, destroying her family home and killing her grandmother.

She launched Askanya, Haiti’s first bean-to-bar chocolate company, in her grandmother’s childhood home in Ouanaminthe, a town on the border with the Dominican Republic. The company works with cacao and sugar cooperatives representing more than 3,000 growers and employs 10 people full time.

One of them is Jocelyne Diomètre, 34, who had been a maid in the Dominican Republic and hated the hassle of crossing the border every day. At Askanya, she is working in her own country for the first time.

Askanya sells bars at scores of locations across Haiti and the U.S. Boosted by recognition at festivals in Seattle and Paris, Joachim Sanon is looking to expand production and double its number of growers.

MyaBèl is also growing, clearing and planting more than 30 acres of idle land. It is planning to hire local people to make machines for the workshop. Theodat said the company must increase production to meet local demand and then start exporting to the U.S., creating more jobs.

Theodat and Joachim Sanon know that returning émigrés can’t end poverty in Haiti. “I don’t think I’m going to go to bed and wake up and Haiti is going to be totally different,” Theodat said.

Refusing to take part in corruption might result in incremental change. Theodat also believes the more collaborative style of émigrés has been rubbing off on their local counterparts.

Joachim Sanon is encouraged that a Haitian company is now competing with Askanya by selling high-end chocolate bars. “Sometimes you want to see someone else succeed first before you try to put your toe in the water,” she said.

“It’s definitely changing the image of Haiti,” she said. “It creates a momentum.”

Contributing: Michel Joseph. 

This story was produced in association with Round Earth Media, which trains and supports young journalists around the world.

Source: USA Today – Posted December 22, 2017; retrieved January 9, 2017 from:


Related: Trump administration to send Haiti earthquake victims home in 2019 – See Appendix VIDEO below.

This commentary is about Haiti’s community re-development, jobs, image and pride. Plus the “Sheroes” who are transforming the country!

This foregoing article aligns with the movement behind the book Go Lean…Caribbean – available to download for free. The movement double-downs on the homeland; it advocates for the Caribbean Diaspora – like the above “Sheroes” – to return to their communities and for in-country residents to not leave in the first place. While no society is perfect anywhere in the world, the Go Lean book posits that the Caribbean is easier to reform and transform. Plus the inherent beauty of the islands, coastal states, cultures and hospitality makes the heavy-lifting to transform our community worth all the effort and sacrifice.

There is no doubt that Haiti has seen a lot of dysfunction; the country flirts with Failed-State status. But change is afoot – see A Supplication for Haiti in the Appendix below – here comes that change: “New Guards”. The Go Lean book serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), for the elevation of Caribbean society – New Guards for all member-states. This CU/Go Lean roadmap has these 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion and create 2.2 million new jobs. One strategy is to deploy industrial campuses, work-yards and job-sites as Self-Governing Entities (SGE’s).
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to protect the resultant economic engines, especially on the SGE’s.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines, including a separation-of-powers between the member-states and CU federal agencies. This allows for Self-Governing Entities independent of Haiti’s local government. Yippee!!!

The book stresses that reforming and transforming the Caribbean societal engines must be a regional pursuit. This was an early motivation for the roadmap, as pronounced in the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Pages 12 – 13):

xi. Whereas all men are entitled to the benefits of good governance in a free society, “new guards” must be enacted to dissuade the emergence of incompetence, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the peril of the people’s best interest. The Federation must guarantee the executions of a social contract between government and the governed.

xii.  Whereas the legacy in recent times in individual states may be that of ineffectual governance with no redress to higher authority, the accedence of this Federation will ensure accountability and escalation of the human and civil rights of the people for good governance, justice assurances, due process and the rule of law. As such, any threats of a “failed state” status for any member state must enact emergency measures on behalf of the Federation to protect the human, civil and property rights of the citizens, residents, allies, trading partners, and visitors of the affected member state and the Federation as a whole.

xiii. Whereas the legacy of dissensions in many member-states (for example: Haiti and Cuba) will require a concerted effort to integrate the exile community’s repatriation, the Federation must arrange for Reconciliation Commissions to satiate a demand for justice.

xix. Whereas our legacy in recent times is one of societal abandonment, it is imperative that incentives and encouragement be put in place to first dissuade the human flight, and then entice and welcome the return of our Diaspora back to our shores. This repatriation should be effected with the appropriate guards so as not to imperil the lives and securities of the repatriated citizens or the communities they inhabit. The right of repatriation is to be extended to any natural born citizens despite any previous naturalization to foreign sovereignties.

xxiv. Whereas a free market economy can be induced and spurred for continuous progress, the Federation must install the controls to better manage aspects of the economy: jobs, inflation, savings rate, investments and other economic principles. Thereby attracting direct foreign investment because of the stability and vibrancy of our economy.

The Go Lean book provides 370-pages of turn-by-turn instructions on “how” to adopt new community ethos, plus the strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to execute so as to reboot, reform and transform the societal engines of Caribbean society. One advocacy is the deployment of Self-Governing Entities – industrial sites though physically located in a member-state, like Haiti, actually administered by agencies of the CU Federation (Page 105). Another advocacy is the Reboot of Haiti. The book posits that solutions for the Caribbean must first come from the Caribbean. Therefore, the roadmap calls for a Caribbean-styled Marshall Plan. (A similar advocacy is provided for Cuba). See this definition here, from Page 238:

The Bottom Line on the Marshall Plan

By the end of World War II much of Europe was devastated. The Marshall Plan, (officially the European Recovery Program, ERP), named after the then Secretary of State and retired general George Marshall, was the American program to aid Europe where the United States gave monetary support to help rebuild European economies after the end of the war. During the four years (1948 – 1952) that the plan was operational, US $13 billion in economic and technical assistance was given to help the recovery of the European countries. The plan looked to the future, and did not focus on the destruction caused by the war.

Much more important were efforts to modernize European industrial and business practices using high-efficiency American models, reduce artificial trade barriers, and instill a sense of hope and self-reliance. By 1952 as the funding ended, the economy of every participant state had surpassed pre-war levels; for all Marshall Plan recipients, output in 1951 was at least 35% higher than in 1938. Over the next two decades, Western Europe enjoyed unprecedented growth and prosperity. Generally, economists agree that the Marshall Plan was one of the first elements of European integration, as it erased trade barriers and set up institutions to coordinate the economy on a continental level—that is, it stimulated the total political reconstruction of Western Europe.

Today, the European Union, the latest successor of the integration effort, is the world largest integrated economy.

Consider too some specific plans, excerpts and headlines for the objective of engaging the Marshall Plan concept for Haiti; this too is found in the book on Page 238, entitled:

10 Ways to Reboot Haiti

1 Lean-in for the Caribbean Single Market
This regional re-boot will allow for the unification of the region into one market, thereby creating a single economy of 30 member-states, 42 million people and a GDP of over $800 Billion. Following the model of European integration, the CU will be the representative and negotiating body for Haiti and the entire region for all trade and security issues.
2 Marshall Plan for Haiti

Haiti is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. But what they have is impassioned human capital as opposed to financial capital or valuable minerals. The CU is a total economic reboot for this country, one that involves developing internally and not thru emigration. To reboot Haiti will require a mini-Marshall Plan. The infrastructure, for the most part, is archaic compared to modern societies. The engines of the CU will enable a rapid upgrade of the infra-structure and some “low hanging fruit” for returns on the investment.

3 Leap Frog Philosophy

There is no need to move Haiti’s technology infrastructure baseline from the 1960’s, then to the 1970’s, and so on. Rather, the CU’s vision is to move Haiti to where technology is going, not coming from. This includes advanced urban planning concepts like electrified light-rail, prefab house constructions, alternative energies and e-delivery of governmental services and payment systems.

4 Repatriation and Reconciliation of the Haitian Diaspora
5 Access to Capital Markets
6 National Historic Places
7 World Heritage Sites
8 Labor, Immigration and Movement of People
The recovery plan for Haiti would discourage the emigration of the population. Haiti has a population base (10 million) that can imperil other islands if too many Haitians relocate within the Caribbean. As a result, the CU will expend the resources and facilitate the campaign to dissuade relocation for the first 10 years of the ascension of the CU [Treaty]. During these first 10 years, Haitians visiting other CU member states, with Visa’s, with careful monitoring to ensure compliance.
9 Educational Mandates

Whereas the CU educational facilitation is satisfied at the secondary level, there will be a greater need for Adult Education in Haiti. Because of the decades of poverty, illiteracy is more dire in Haiti than in other CU state. There will be no age limitation for the educational opportunities. The macro-economic principle is “every year of education raises a country’s GDP”; this will allow for easy pickings of the economic “low hanging fruit”.

10 Language Neutrality of the Union … French and Creole

According to the foregoing news article, a big concern for Haiti is the lack of jobs – the article cited a 60 percent poverty/unemployment rate. The Go Lean roadmap seeks to assuage this economic challenge by the facilitation of formal jobs and informal gigs, especially on the Self-Governing Entity job sites. Welcome to the Gig Economy

A gig economy is an environment in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements. The trend toward a gig economy has begun. A study by financial systems company, Intuit, predicted that by 2020, 40 percent of American workers would be independent contractors. – Source

We can ride this trend in the Caribbean as well. Haiti would be perfectly suited. Consider here, how the Go Lean movement identified many opportunities and expressions of the Gig Economy in these previous blog-commentaries:

http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=13420 Lessons on Gigs from the History of Whaling Expedition
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=8262 UberEverything in Africa – Model of Gigs
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=6129 Lessons Learned from US Migrant Farm Workers on Seasonal Gigs
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=4145 Gigs for Eco-Tourism and World Heritage Sites
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2857 Gig Economy Model – Entrepreneurism in Junk
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2571 AirBnB Gig Economy Options Materializing
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2003 Ship-breaking – One Job/Gig Scenario
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1364 Uber Gigs Backlash Shows the Community Impact

Jobs in the Gig Economy are counted in the Go Lean roadmap as these are direct jobs; there is also the reality of indirect jobs – unrelated service and attendant functions – at a 3.75 multiplier rate would add even more to the job-creation effort.

According to the foregoing news article, there are many women in Haiti that have given a full measure to impact their communities and foster new jobs and economic activities. Such good news! How blessed they are:

The Lord gives the word; the women who announce the good news are a great host – English Standard Version

We urge all Caribbean stakeholders to lean-in to this roadmap to make the homeland a better place to live, work and play. 🙂

Download the free e-Book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

Sign the petition to lean-in for this roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation.


Appendix – Poem: A Supplication for Haiti!

Here’s my supplication for my brothers and sisters of Haiti:

Do not beg people to love you.
If you are successful in your begging,
it will not be love that you get, it will be pity!

Do you want to be pitied … as an individual?

Do you want to be pitied as a community; do you want to be pitied as a country?

This is most apropos on the heels of America ending her charity towards you – below. Yet, do not beg!

You do not want to be pitied by the world. You want to be honored by the world … for showing your proud heritage, as the progenitor of freedom for the New World.

Show them your pride. Show them your dignity.


Appendix VIDEO – US Ending Temporary Permits for Haitians – https://www.usatoday.com/videos/news/nation/2017/11/21/u.s.-ending-temporary-permits-haitians/107896498/

AP Nov. 21, 2017 – The Trump administration said Monday it is ending a temporary residency permit program that has allowed almost 60,000 citizens from Haiti to live and work in the United States since a 2010. Haitian advocates quickly criticized the decision.

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