Survival in post-earthquake Haiti:Institutional predators, individual maneuver Gerald F. Murray Dept. of Anthropology (emeritus) University of Florida
Survival strategies and their special complexities in Haiti • Male agrarian strategies • Female commercial strategies • Reproductive strategies: Protection in old age • Health strategies: • Schooling strategies: freedom from agriculture • Child relocation: “giving children away” • Emigration: the major collective aspiration
Components of peasant economy • Land tenure system • Crops • Livestock • Market system
Haitian peasant land tenure • Bilateral partible inheritance • Privatized holdings. • Low level of landlessness • Small holdings • Scattered holdings • Sharecropping and land purchase
Peasant cropping • Technology: Hoe and machete • Water: Rainfall • Land clearing: Deforestation and erosion • Absence of fallow • Conversion to pasture
Peasant livestock system • Cattle, pigs, goats, sheep • Private and communal grazing land • Animals as a source of investment
Subsistence vs. market involvement • Definition of “subsistence cultivator” • The subsistence economies of indigenous America. • The commercial orientation of the Caribbean • Market strategy of Haitian peasant
Agrarian options and dilemmas • Mass exodus: Agriculture a declining option in Haiti. • Major problem: not land shortage, but water and capital. • Because of drought, credit not a safe option. • Food security: dependent on purchase. 60% imported. • Agriculture no longer seen as an attractive option for offspring
The Haitian market woman • Marketing still an attractive option for women. • Major activity is purchase and resale, not sale of family crops. • Two levels of marketing • Madam sara • Revandez • Males market major livestock • Women interviewees prefer access to credit over access to free food.
Family strategies • Two modes of conjugal union: mariaj, plasaj. • Marriage socially more respected. • Marriage often occurs in old age. • Polygamy in the rural areas. • Children now valued more for support in old age than for field labor. • Though people are reluctant to say how many children they want (“it’s up to God”), the want 4 or 5 in view of child mortality. • The issue of fertility and development.
Child relocation • The phenomenon of the “restavek”: child “slave”. • Poorer Haitians relocate their children to live with relatives or strangers, usually in the city. • The basic ground rule: child gives labor in exchange for schooling, shelter, food. • Many Haitians argue in favor of the practice. • Parents want to remain in touch with the child. • The children are often abused, and human rights activists describe it as child slavery
Schooling of children • Education now a universal goal. • Relocation of children is justified in educ. terms. • 53% literacy rate (people over 15 who have gone to school). Lower than 90% ave. for L.A. and Carib. • There are 15,200 primary schools in Haiti, 90% private. • 2/3 of Haitian children attend at least a year of school. Of these only 1/3 reach sixth grade. • One of Aristide’s priorities was education. • Field observations: shaky financial viability of most private schools. • Statistics come from USAID report on education
Health care strategies • Rich traditions of folk healing: • Natural healing: midwives, leaf doctors • Spirit healing: houngans and mambo, Protestant healers • Haitians firmly believe in modern biomedicine as well. • Multiple forms of post-earthquake and post-cholera emergency programs • “Partners in Health” will discuss health issues in the next lecture.
Emigration as a survival strategy • There has been a history of labor emigration. • Cuba • Dominican Republic • A shift in orientation from the 1970’s. • Increase in urbanization. • In 1970’s Haiti was 85% rural • Increase in outmigration • Dominican Republic • U.S.A and Canada • Bahamas and other Caribbean islands
Public and private institutions: service providers or predators? • The need for systems that convert funds into services. • The State: origins and evolution • 3 major historical actors: • The State: government • the Corporation: private sector • and the Church: religious institutions • Appearance of the NGO (Non-Governmental Organization)
The Haitian State • Autocratic military origins • Absence of service or human rights • Systemic functions: extraction and control • “Letagrangou” • Contrast between Trujillo and Duvalier • Contrast between Dominican and Haitian reactions to their States • “Pa bay letakob-la. Yamanje-l. Nou pap jwenn.”
Personal post-earthquake observations • The majistraand the U.N. relief vouchers. • The Haitian and Cuban physicians • The confiscation of a bottle of glue.
The foreign-aid establishment • The U.N. in post WWII • Multilaterals vs. bilaterals • The era of government-to-government aid • Foreign aid as major source of predation • Agroforestry Project and the shift to NGOs • Revisionist history: “NGO competitors to blame for Haitian government failure”.
The publicly-funded NGO: Service provider or predator? • The rise of the Beltway Bandit. • The hybrid NGO • Cashing in on poverty: profitable Non-Profits. • The RFP: top-down ideological project design. • Contractors responsive to foreign funder. • The top-heavy budget: overhead, expenses, salaries, vehicles, etc. • Consortia: Negotiating your cut of the pie.
Privately-funded NGOs • Small church groups involved with Haiti. • Volunteer self-financed trips to Haiti. • Texting donations
Philosophical gatekeepers: the case of trees in Haiti • “Reforestation” • Misplaced pedagogy: “Teach a man to fish” • “Watershed management”: the devastated landscape as major concern • “Ecological justice” ????? • “Develop their character; make ‘em pay for it”: how to kill tree planting.
Summary of gatekeeping • Sources of blockage • Public sector kickbacks • Predatory customs blockages • Top-heavy, self-serving USAID and NGO budgets • Top-down philosophically driven mis-planning. • Shared element: out of touch with village-level or street-level needs. • Caution: avoid “spitball anthropology”. Assume that institutions can improve performance. • Only Haitians can improve GOH performance. • Outsiders can and should insist on more rational and effective performance by donors and NGO implementers.
Avoiding the gatekeepers:Project options • Trees and farming: Agroforestry Outreach Project • Female credit: FonKoze • Health care delivery: Zanmilasante • World Bank: $15,000 grants to communities • The small Thomazeau school program
The larger picture:“If I had $1 billion to spend….” • Divide it into 10 regional funds of $100 million each to create regional poles that would draw people from Port-au-Prince. • One and only one fund would go to Port-au-Prince for rubble, garbage, sewage, etc. • Each regional fund would be subdivided into • Public infrastructure: roads, water, electricity, garbage collection. • Public works jobs – a major short term component. • Agricultural fund: irrigation, erosion control structures. • Credit, particularly for female market women. • School support, both public and private. • Health care (including physician and nurse training) • Others
Who would manage the regional funds?Who would implement the activities? • Fund management: mixed foreign and Haitian. • Separate activities would be subcontracted. • A small but sufficient percentage would be allocated to local municipal authorities. • Local consultation as to priorities. • The bulk would be allocated on a competitive contractual basis to organizations (Haitian or foreign) with proven track records in selected domains (e.g. health, education, credit). • They would be allowed to budget a maximum of 15% for organizational costs. The rest has to be budgeted for bona-fide outputs. Otherwise the proposal gets thrown in the garbage pail.
Current contributions of UF • One of the best library collections on Haiti • Creole language program: largest in the country. • College of Public Health and Health Professions • IFAS (WINNER) • Individual faculty as consultants • Haiti working group • Club Creole – Haitian student group • UF medical student trips to Haiti (in past)
Potential contributions of UF • Goal: become THE premier center of Haiti scholarship • Energetic Haiti-related grant applications. • Search for a Haiti related endowment. • Scholarships for Haitian students. • Special support for Haiti-related theses and dissertations. • Haitian publication series. • Targeted faculty hires . • Increased course offerings. • Minor or Certificate in Haitian Studies
The role of Gainesville? • A sister/city relation between Gainesville and Jacmel. • Gainesville aid to Haiti is often faith-based. • Parish to parish support, both Catholic and Protestant • Personal contributions • Personal visits • The complicated issue of evangelization with public funds.
Potential role of the diaspora • Major perceived obligation: support of kin • Remittances • Assistance in the migratory process • Temporary lodging in the U.S. • Assistance in settling in • Possible support in home communities • Schools? • Credit? • Others? • Return to Haiti in a professional capacity.