[saymaListserv] Friend on the Haitian Border
roeblingelizabeth at msn.com
Tue Mar 14 11:50:25 JEST 2006
I am now in the capital of the Domincan Republic,Santo Domingo. I
followed a leading to move down here from Asheville the beginning of last
year. I am now focused on the border between this country and Haiti. I was
blessed to find in the Traveling Friends directory the name of another
Quaker family who are living here, from the Providence Rhode Island Meeting,
who have been firm companions and a great anchor.
Last week, I was able to travel into Haiti under the protection of
one of the NGOs here, the Pan American Development Fund. I will be back up
to the Northern Border in two weeks for the second cross border ecotourist
fair. There is a startling contrast between these two countries, one a
middle income but still developing country and the other- what some are now
terming a ¨fourth world¨country. No electricty, no running water, little
food production. Things are much calmer there now after the recent elections
but there is still fear that the kidnappings and general disorder will
continue under the leadership of Preval and the Lavalas party.
There is a new free trade zone in Haiti, run by Domincans, working
under contract to Levis and Sarah Lee. They have just signed an historic
union agreement with Haitian workers, raising the daily wage to double what
it was -now at $3.15 a day. It should be noted that over 80% of the people
of Haiti live on less than $2 a day and that there are only 200,000 jobs
there for a population of over 8 million. I am studying the issue from all
sides, talking with locals and other NGOs, hoping that we may find a way
into ¨some sort of ethical global capitalism. Can we start a race to the top
rather than a race to the bottom?
I welcome any contact from Friends or others who have an interest in
globalization and in Haiti in particular.
I join with Friends in mourning the passing of Friend Fox. I had
occassion to work with some of the members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams
on the Vieques Witness and have a deep and profound respect for their
centered and worshipful witness.
I am also very mindful that those of us who are called to go out and
about in the world are grounded and supported by those of you who¨sit and
wait¨ I ask that you hold me, and this Island and the poor of the developing
world, in the Light.
Elizabeth Eames Roebling
Asheville Friends Meeting
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