Unrest in Haiti Part 2
If you missed our last blog, please click here to read a short description of what caused the unrest and some of the underlying issues that will make this situation complicated moving forward. I want to start out with the most important update about what is going on there and that is that things seem to be getting back to normal. Yesterday, tap-taps (Haitian taxis) began operating at full force again for the first time since Friday and stores were selling gas and water again. Saturday was the worst day of the riots and the peak of the looting and burning. Sunday was a continuation but was a little better than Saturday because the government cancelled the increase in gas prices. On Monday, the opposition called for 2 days of peace to give the President time to respond to their demands so today and tomorrow will be key in knowing how the country will move forward. Please pray that these 2 days of peace will continue for the foreseeable future and things will begin getting back to normal. I will post another blog soon to update you with the latest news from the fallout of this past weekend as there are rumors of the Prime Minister resigning along with other key politicians. It is still a very tense situation and one that could turn very quickly, but for now there seems to be peace.
You may be wondering what all of this means for Haiti and for All Things New moving forward. I am going to try and give you some information about both of these things, but in this blog I will focus on what this means for All Things New and for our family. As soon as we get a better idea how the President will handle this situation and if the protests are finished, I will write more about how this will affect Haiti as a whole (at least from my perspective).
In the previous blog I mentioned that the riots and roadblocks all happened on major roads or in major cities. Because of this, our kids and the orphanage were never in any danger. They stayed close to their house and they had enough supplies to last them at least a couple of weeks. All of that to say that our kids were in no danger throughout the protests and were far enough away to not even really know the full extent of what was happening. But, like the rest of life, there are immediate and obvious consequences and then there are more subtle longer-term consequences that are harder to understand. Here are some of the things that could happen and could affect All Things New:
- This issue has not been resolved. The price of gas will have to rise at some point in time and every time it does this same type of thing happens.
- Every time the protesters “win” they are emboldened to do it again. Even when peace is achieved based on the government giving in to whatever demands are given, the peace can only be a bandaid in a country where taking to the streets clearly works. This type of environment is completely unpredictable and it is difficult to do business like that.
- Haiti has been raised to a Level 4 travel advisory which is the highest it has been since we have been going (and I think the highest since 2004) and means “Do Not Travel.”
- There could be immediate and even long-term implications on food, water, and gas availability. This is something that we have to keep an eye on as political instability remains.
- Companies were looted and burned to the ground over the 3 days of manifestations. This will make it even more difficult to find certain items than it has been in the past.
- When foreign investors and other countries see riots to the scale of what we saw this past weekend, it makes Haiti even less desirable for aid and foreign investment.
- Many American missions teams had to cancel their trips and others will now have second thoughts about coming down. These types of teams can be helpful to the local economy, the spiritual environment, and to individual mission organizations and losing out on current and future teams could be damaging.
The bottom line is that the political and economic environment of Haiti is not good. We have always known there were risks and that safety and comfort were never guaranteed here, but right now it is different. We are going to keep an eye on everything that is happening and be as wise as we can with our decision making while at the same time ensuring that our kids and ministry are taken care of. We would really appreciate your prayers.
On a personal level, as many of you know, we are in the middle of adopting a son from Haiti. His name is Ezekyal, he was born on May 8, and we will definitely be telling you more about him in the future. Right now, we have taken guardianship of him in Haiti, but he is currently not allowed to travel back and forth with us to and from America until we can get Visa for him. This could be a very long process or it could happen quickly, we have not way of knowing. We know that the adoption in Haiti will take at least 2 years but we are really trying to get him a Visa to travel with us before that. I say all of that to say that seeing this unrest in Haiti is made incredibly more difficult since we have been back in America without Ezekyal. He is in good hands with Marjorie and Lener while we are in America but we really want him to be with us no matter where we are. Please continue to pray for us in this way as well.