Wednesday, February 3, 2010 | Categories: Episodes
Pt 1: Disabled in Haiti -One of the especially heart wrenching stories that surfaced in the wake of the earthquake, was of the thousands of amputations given to people who were badly injured.Co-host David Gutnick in Haiti tells us the stories of the disabled in Haiti.
This edition of The Current was a Haiti Special co-hosted with David Gutnick in Haiti.
It's Wednesday, February 3rd.
American Idol judge Simon Cowell is producing a single to help raise money for Haiti.
Currently, in Simon's own words it's a vapid, flaccid, steaming piece of mediocrity which might do a lot of good.
This is The Current.
Disabled in Haiti
One of the especially heart wrenching stories that surfaced in the wake of the earthquake, was of the thousands of amputations given to people who were badly injured.Co-host David Gutnick in Haiti tells us the stories of the disabled in Haiti.
Disabled in Haiti - Pazapa
Someone else who is also involved in helping Haitians with disabilities is Marika MacRae. She was born in Canada, but she has spent most of her life in Haiti. She is the Executive Director of Pazapa, which means Step-By-Step in Haitian Creole. Pazapa is a charity that runs programs for disabled children in Haiti. Marika MacRae was in Jacmel, Haiti when the earthquake hit. She and her two young children have since come back to Canada and she was in St. Catharine's, Ontario.
Listen to Part One:
We started this segment with some music by La Merci Charle-Pierre who is a Mambo or a Voudou priestess in the Port-au-Prince neighbourhood of Narette.
David met her earlier this week. She's sitting on the rubble in her backyard singing what is a traditional healing song. La Merci Charles Pierre sang her heart out as did her neighbours as they sat overlooking a hill of homes that smashed into
Voudou is an age old system of beliefs that was first brought over to Haiti in the 16th Century with the African slaves. Today in Haiti, Voudou still plays a pivitol role in many, many people's lives. In fact, there are a lot of people who think Voudou will actually play a major role in how Haitians rebuild their capital city for the 21st century.
Wade Davis is an anthropologist, Explorer-In-Residence at National Geographic and the author of The Serpent and the Rainbow and Passage of Darkness - books that explore Haitian voodoo, magic and zombies. He also delivered the 2009 Massey Lectures here at the CBC. It was called The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World. We talked to him to get a sense of what voodoo is beyond what you might see in a bad Hollywood movie.
David Gutnick also paid a visit to the people in Narette neighbourhood of Port-au-Princeto to learn about their voodoo beliefs and traditions.
Listen to Part Two:
There is an economy in Haiti's daily tragic normal.....millions of people trying to make and spend money, their dollars, their gourds. A dentist who lost his home is back filling cavities when he isn't watching workers smash what remains of his walls and ceilings into pebbles.
In the well-to-do neighbourhood of Pietion-Ville there is another kind of daily routine. Restaurant owner Jacques Sterling writing his daily menu on the blackboard. There's Salad Nicoise, pepper steak, herbed lamb chops.
One of the most fundamental questions you can ask about Haiti is what is going to happen to the Haitian economy and social structures over the next while. Hundreds of thousands of people in this city are now out of work, or looking for work or too injured to work or too sad to work. Or they are working and scraping together a living.
A week's factory wage buys you food for your family for the week. Some fruit, a few pounds of rice...some cooking charcoal. That's it. The earthquake has meant some shortages and that drives up prices but not wages. And there are all kinds of new costs people have to deal with. There are now food drop offs in sixteen parts of the city. But this is temporary. It will last a few more weeks'...maybe a few months.
The earthquake damaged some five hundred workers died in one factory when the roof came crashing down. Others are too dangerous to be opened. But others are back to fifty, sixty, seventy percent of their normal production. The industrial park is heavily guarded. There is still talk that hungry people can become violent.
There are lots of full trucks coming in and out of factories like those owned by the Apaid family who subcontract to well known clothing companies like Gildan and Haines. No one in the Apaid family was killed though two long-time housekeepers were. Six family mansions were destroyed. The Apaids may well be the biggest private employers in Haiti - seven to eight thousand people work for them. Clifford Apaid met David Gutnick at the family's t-shirt factory.
Because there are potentially billions of dollars flowing into Haiti over the next few years, there was the big conference in Montreal last week, there are two more international Haiti economic conferences coming up in the spring. Radio talk shows are full of people already debating whether the United States is planning to take over the economy, whether Haiti will be a free trade zone, whether the politicians are in the pockets of multi-national corporations or the world bank.
And when it comes to Haiti's reconstruction. All the major decisions about how and where to start the rebuilding are being overseen by one man. Patrick Delatour is a politician and an architect. Before the earthquake, he was Haiti's Tourism Minister. Now, he's the head of Port-au-Prince's Reconstruction Committee. And he was in Port-au-Prince.
Last Word - Haiti
We ended the program today with some thoughts about the importance of radio in Haiti. Before the earthquake, there were radios on pretty much everywhere you went here. The earthquake knocked a lot of radio stations off-line. And of course a lot of radios got crushed along with everything else.
Since then, the Red Cross has been handing out hand-cranked radios. And one radio station -- Signal FM -- did manage to stay on the air through the quake. So we gave the last word this morning to a handful of radio fans on the streets of Port-au-Prince as well as Guerrier Henri, a journalist with Signal FM. And we also aired a song put out by a local artist last week about the earthquake.
Listen to Part Three: