March 3, 2011

Report from Haiti: ‘There is positive happening here’

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Young girl from Jacmel, Haiti
A young girl from Jacmel, Haiti.

Sloane Berrent‘What is the one thing we can take back from Haiti with us to tell people?”

That was the question I asked people while in Haiti over the weekend. For there is a lot going on. A lot of sadness. A lot of frustration. A lot of violence. Struggles to reconstruct, rebuild, take a country that was already the poorest in the Western Hemisphere and have it come back better than before.

“Tell the good. There is positive happening here. The (traditional) media only tells the stories of hardship but there are a lot of positive stories coming out of Haiti too.”

And indeed there is. Smiles and laughter. People helping each other. Community leaders stepping up. International aid organizations committed to helping in the reconstructions. Houses are being built. Schools are in session. A presidential election is right around the corner.

So that’s what I want to do. I want to honor the wishes of the people I met in Haiti during my trip last weekend. I want to tell stories that haven’t been told 100 times. It’s important for us – us in the privileged developed country – to remember that in the aftermath of a natural disaster most other countries don’t have the option to clean up like we do.

Sanitation is often said to be the No. 1 indicator of how developed a country is. Second is road infrastructure and the ability to get from point A to point B. Haiti is obviously behind the U.S., so is there trash in the streets and piles of rubble? Yes. But I expected that.

What was amazing was the bright colors! The creativity of the Haitians. The way they are embracing art as a means of expression. They are struggling, of course, but there is hope in Haiti. There is hope for the future. That is humankind, that is what makes us resilient. Hope.

I hope you’ll remember that when you think of Haiti, if nothing else.

I’ll be sharing more of that perspective of Haiti in the coming days. In the meantime, I’ve just started using Cinch to record audio messages to share. Click the link for a message I just recorded about Haiti and storytelling.

If you have specific questions about Haiti, please let me know. If I don’t know, I’m happy to help find someone who would. And for more information on the Heart of Haiti campaign visit Fairwinds Trading or follow the hashtag #heartofhaiti on Twitter.

Sloane Berrent is a cause-based marketing consultant who works with nonprofits and social cause organizations. See her business profile, contact Sloane or leave a comment.

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