[saymaListserv] Friend on the Haitian Border

Elizabeth Eames roeblingelizabeth at msn.com
Tue Mar 14 11:50:25 JEST 2006


Dear Friends,
        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.
      Many thanks
      Elizabeth Eames Roebling
      Asheville Friends Meeting





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