Less Jobs + Less Tourism = More Suffering for Haiti
I just walked across the street from the production house to the cafe. The roads are blocked both ways with a dump truck full of sharp splintered rocks. I can’t get a picture as it is too dangerous. There are about 50 men outside yelling and throwing green glass bottles on the ground. Glass shards are spraying the side of the building.
These people are angry. A shot of either bravery or stupidity went up my spine as I made eye contact with a man who had a machete in his hand. I motioned to him to come over. He looked at me surprised and gestures to himself. I nodded.
He put his machete down and walked towards the cafe. Our security guard Mardi leaned forward ready.
“Can you come inside a second and talk” I asked in Kreyol. The tension was thick.
He agreed and walked through the door. I gestured for him to sit down on one of our recycled pallet benches just inside the courtyard under our big butterfly mural.
“Why are you doing this?” I asked him gently. “My kids are hungry. I have no food. I have no job. We have to do something to get the governments attention.” He replied. The adrenaline was starting to subside. I asked him how he thought that throwing bottles outside of the artisan business would help him. He started to explain how they had organized into groups of 50 to cover all of the areas and protest and that journalists would follow them and get pictures. They wanted to make a statement. I asked him how many kids he had. Two. Neither of them could go to school. He had no money to feed them.
My heart is stirred. I spent the next fifteen minutes talking to him and one other protester who managed to calm down enough to come talk alongside him. They wanted money. They wanted their kids to be taken care of. I sigh. My eyes tear up as I hear their stories of desperation. The needs are relentless.
Conflict is indeed the child of scarce resources.
“There is nothing I can do for you.” I said. “What you are doing out there is killing our business. We have no clients. We have no sales. Without that how can we help anyone in the neighborhood?”
I thanked them for talking and they walked out the gate and shook my hand. They told me that they were going to go home. They didn’t feel like throwing bottles anymore.
But it doesn’t matter. At this point there are 48 more outside who are still angry. They are tired of the oppressive poverty. I am too. The chatter outside is that tires are on the way. More burning will ensue.
Less jobs and less tourism.
It feels hopeless.
Please pray for Haiti. ❤️