By Charnette Frederic
A recorded magnitude of 7 earthquake occurred in Haiti. In a situation like this, I have plenty of questions. Could we prevent it? Did they have guidelines? A contingency plan?
How many lives could be saved? I might want to know how the earthquake happened? How was it characterized? Volcanic activity? Landslides? Mine blasts? or nuclear experiments?
The last two options should be impossible, since I was not aware of such activities in Haiti. I must agree that seismic activity is not my expertise, however as a scientist these type of questions usually occupied my mind. I generally ask questions to comprehend the circumstances, even try to find feasible solutions. However this time, I have bigger and pressing issues: Haiti is my homeland.
Before the media focus on Haiti and big donations were given to save lives through some well-known organizations, I was always conscious of this island. Conscious enough to be part of Fondation des Cazaliens D’Outres Mer (FOCOM), which is a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to helping poor communities in Haiti, especially the town of Cazale: the place that I was born. Yes, I usually know when hurricanes damaged Haiti or even when the town Gonaive was flooded. I am familiar with the island’s unemployment rate, poverty level, literacy rate. In the mist of all the pessimism's, I experience Haiti through its lavish and rich African culture, great organic food, the enormous taboo about voodoo, the imposing structure of La Citadel, entrepreneurial investment, but above all, I recognize how resilient, robust, and courageous are its people.
Through this ordeal, I must say as a Haitian-American, I am overwhelmed by outpouring of prayers, kindness and generosity from people around the world. That being said, massive labor needs to be done. As my brothers and sisters are going through this nightmare, I had to remind myself: “I can not be emotional, as people concentrate on rebuilding Haiti, I want FOCOM to play a key role” friends and philanthropists, this is the time to invest, learn about Haiti, and the opportunity that it has to offer.
Picture this: “An enormous mansion by the ocean with breathtaking sunrise and sunset, palm tree, coconut tree, exotic flowers. Imagine the tropical fruits: mango, sugar apple, passion fruit, banana, papaya, pineapple, amazing sea food, adventurous sports, and of course tropical climate all year around,” this is just a hint of what one can experience in Haiti. Now, make it a reality.
Charnette Frederic is a Senior Scientist at Roche, serves as Secretariat at FOCOM and resides in New Jersey.
Be Blessed! Paix