Haiti – History Repeats

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A chance to build Haiti, a beautiful island nation with beautiful houses, homes, hotels and more is squandered.

After the earthquake in Haiti in 2009 (yes its been that long ago) a lot of attention was placed on building construction technology.  

haiti house home

Many excellent reports and reviews were compiled that identified why the devastation was so widespread.   In a nutshell, the conclusions were pretty universal, the use of limestone in the cement mixture made for pretty poor concrete.  Aid agency after aid agency and NGO after NGO promised to build back better.    Engineering firms lauded the solution to such a level that one would think Haiti could build back and become one of the Caribbean’s next dream vacation spots.  This was true. 

Imagine having an opportunity to totally rebuild a beautiful island paradise.  Everything that was needed was at hand; a new government, Billions of dollars, and a leveled landscape.  The unfortunate events that created this opportunity left an entire nation in the grips of despair but a glimmer of hope was buried deep inside.  I believe that most people felt Haiti could be better.  By the droves individuals and organizations texted 10 dollars here and there in one of the most successful fund raising campaign in history.   With so much focus, money, and desire it seemed natural that Haiti would build back better.

Despite all this going for her, Haiti is in worse shape today then ever before. 

People, by the hundreds of thousands are still living in tents.  Rubble is still being cleared, and hundreds of millions of dollars sits in the banks of aid organizations.  You just wouldn’t think the news could get worse.  But is has!

Haiti has been rebuilding on her own.  But they are building the only way they know how…the old way.  The way that leads to poorly constructed homes which sets them up for another disaster.  It is no consequence to them that our great engineering firms, our outstanding aid agencies and our sophisticated NGO’s know how to prevent another disaster.   The men and women of Haiti have given up hope that all this knowledge could really bring about change.  They must build homes, and schools and churches and they are doing so with what they have. 

This will of course sets the stage for a future disaster.  History will repeat itself and this island nation will need to look to the world once again for help.  It is of little consequence that we know the things we know if it doesn’t get applied.  The losers in all this are: the Haitian people and the donors who texted.  

Shelter the World is a charitable organization focused on raising awareness about the global condition of housing.  We seek to impact the lives of families in some of the most challenging conditions on the globe and provide hope for generations to come through the improved housing and the building of homes. 

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