The Issues

     Haiti has long been the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, and the physical conditions of Haiti’s population are growing worse day by day.  A lack of strong central government has been a major contributing factor to the serious decline of the urban infrastructure.  Roads, streets, water supplies, electricity, sanitation, and governmental services have all been affected. 
Public utilities such as electricity, running water and sewers are nonexistent in rural areas and very expensive for the average Haitian in the city.   Even in the city, full utilities are only available to 20% of the population.  Cell phones are rapidly gaining popularity, especially among the young, since land lines are nearly impossible to come by.


     Eighty percent of the nine million people in Haiti have an average income of only $100 per year.   Rice is the staple food in Haiti, and the price of rice has doubled in the last year. Gasoline is selling for close to $6.00 per gallon.   In town, the smell of charcoal, kerosene, dust, cooking oil, and burning trash is always hanging in the air.

       Public utilities such as electricity, running water and sewers are nonexistent in rural areas and very expensive and undependable for the average Haitian in the city.  To prevent cholera epidemics, clean water is an absolute necessity.  The church at La Suisse has a clean artesian well in the front yard that serves the community.  We have just completed drilling a new, clean well on the property of the Bas Fosse church that also serves the local community.   Wells are still needed at three other churches.

     Public transportation does not exist, but local entrepreneurs have an established system that seems to work quiet well.  Large outdated school buses run long distances between cities and drop people off at road intersections.  Then the motor scooter taxis take over.  In town, brightly colored pickup trucks, can transport many people in the back.  A passenger in the back taps the top or side to alert the driver to stop or go.  Hence, all transportation is known as "tap-taps."  


     With no supermarkets or corner groceries available, street vendors are the primary method of distributing the necessities.  Deliveries of charcoal, soap, meat, beans, cooking oil, water, and other goods are made daily.  This man has just brought in a load of meat from the country, and will stop at many street vendors before his load is empty.


     In the countryside, life is much more simple and quiet.  Agriculture has greatly declined, and the knowledge of farming has become almost a lost art.  The air is clean here, but they are far removed from the city and it's resources.  Local vendors do make it into town via tap-taps, and have a small selection of goods available.  Money is in short supply in the country, and jobs are almost non-existent.  Rural homes are often surrounded by a cactus fence, and it makes a convenient place to hang clothes on wash day.



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