> Haiti in May

>My schedule has been a bit insane and I am way behind on my blog. I had an opportunity to go with a Florida Association of Volunteers for Carribean Action to Aytai aka Haiti. FAVA/CA's aim is to improve social and economic conditions in the Carribean region through training and technical assistance. They are a great match for our work around the world and with our office now located in Florida I am definitely looking for work nearby to help train the Bajalia teams heading for work in the far corners of the world. Haiti's pride has been dented by decades of poverty, environmental degradation, violence, instability and dictatorship which have left it as the poorest nation in the Americas. With it only being 600 miles from the US that is such a horror. Democratic rule was restored in 2006, two years after a violent revolt ousted former leader Jean-Bertrand Aristide; bitter political divisions persist, and the scars of the country were there, but I was encouraged by the Men and Women I met and the progress being made. This was my 3rd trip to Haiti in the last two and a half years. I went to a art expose in Port-au-Prince of Femmes en Democratie, Women in Production. There were more than a hundred Haitian women entrepreneurs who displayed products at the Karibe Convention Center in Petion Ville. The expo entitled "Creations Couleurs Saveurs Creoles", designed to promote women doing business in Haiti, increased visibility of their products while providing a marketplace. Daniel St. Lot, was y hostess and the president of Femmes en Democratie, former Minister of Economy and Tourism, ran for mayor of Petion Ville, and has a consulting business. She was the coordinator of the 2007 Women in Production exposition. I was asked to help judge the best in catagory for the individual booths and made many new friends in Haiti and at FAVA/CA. I was very impressed by the Haitian design and display among the vendors. The huge wealth gap between the impoverished Creole-speaking black majority and the French-speaking minority, 1% of whom own nearly half the country's wealth, was very obvious in the show. But change comes one sale a a time.

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