....a pop star, Michel "Sweet Micky" Martelly, became Haiti’s new president. Less than 25% of the country voted because one party was barred from running and the majority of people in the countryside had to walk many miles to a polling booth so they simply didn’t participate. It was the urban youth who voted for their on-stage idol and he is now in charge of rebuilding this earthquake-devastated country.
As the 50-year-old musician-turned-president stood in front of the still-collapsed National Palace before a crowd of thousands for his inauguration he told his compatriots to respect laws, pay their taxes, and pitch in. Martelly reiterated that universal education for children would not only be free but also mandatory. A power outage interrupted his speech and the remainder of the inauguration ceremony and the whole dinner was served in a beautiful place…under a blackout.
The rainy season has started but, so far, it hasn’t been too bad. Officials have been warning for weeks that encampments sheltering the homeless are in danger of washing away. A couple nights ago we had a downpour and people in some camps were digging drainage ditches with their hands after heavy rains soaked the tent cities. The rain swamped tents, flooded and overturned latrines. There were reports of panicked families in the rain trying to stay together. The Haitian government has been trying to set up more stable camps outside Port au Prince -- but there's been trouble finding sites.
We continue to ask ourselves, “Where is all the earthquake relief money that was committed to Haiti?” With a reported more than 10,000 non-government organizations on every side of us, one would think a lot is being done. We see the evidence of their existence in the many new, expensive vehicles being driven by their staff and nice, air-conditioned offices where the employees spend their time. Last week priests were informed that there is no money available to rebuild their fallen churches. Where has the money gone? Another large just donated $29 million to rebuild a hotel to attract businesses and investors who need a business class, seismically safe hotel. What about the poor, the needy, the homeless?