The Long Road Ahead
On February 7, thirty three years after the fall of the brutal Duvalier dictatorship, Haitians once again took to the streets to demand government accountability. For almost twelve days, protestors coordinated a lock down of Haiti. Businesses and schools sat closed. Roads were not passable. Life screeched to a halt.
Eight days into the protests, on February 14, President Jovenel Moise addressed the nation. The US State Department raised the travel warning for Haiti to a Level 4 “Do Not Travel” on the same level as Iran, North Korea, and war torn nations. Haitian hotels and resorts disappeared from popular vacation booking sites.
By Monday, February 18, activity began to slowly resume in Port-au-Prince. Road blocks cleared. Businesses hesitantly reopened. Some schools welcomed students back. But, the dust has far from settled.
The government must still account for millions in missing aid from the PetroCaribe fund. The international community must answer for it’s use of Haiti as a dumping grounds for feel good projects that rarely result in local empowerment. Families must grapple with the crippling inflation and rapid decline of the Haitian gourde.
And, small business must figure out a way forward.
If we are honest, the mountains ahead feel daunting and impossible. It seems to the average observer, that once again Haiti and her people are collateral damage for corrupt leaders.
At Petite Palm, we remain committed to a way forward. Thanks to the generosity of many, we’ve established an Employee Emergency Assistance fund to offset lost income from the past two weeks, and offer reassurance to our team in the face of a long, uncertain road ahead.
We are working hard to launch our new Spring Collection. The recent protests will surely delay our launch, but we are still committed to bringing you new beautifully crafted goods.
So, what can you do to truly empower our artisan team in the face of this new reality?
-Shop Local. Keep purchasing Haitian goods. Tell your friends to purchase Haitian goods. Tell strangers to purchase Haitian made goods. Basically, tell everyone and then do it yourself too.
-Keep believing in the good ahead. We know it is easy to become worn out and drained from the influx of negative headlines swirling around Haiti. But, keep believing with us that Light wins.
-Give to grassroots causes. If you feel led to donate, give to small, grassroots organizations like our Employee Emergency Assistance fund. Look for causes that are dedicated to assisting Haitians on the path to financial independence.