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#2177: Durban Challenges Diaspora (fwd)

From: Lance Durban <lpdurban@yahoo.com>

I'm always a bit disappointed when I hear Max's argument
that Haiti is poor because the rest of the world has
unfavorably discriminated against it for the past 200
years.  Of course there is an element of truth to
practically any statement, but this kind of negative
thinking permeates Haiti today and is one reason why the
country itself cannot seem to get itself on track.

  Sidebar: The Arabic community in Haiti is the excep-
   tion.  They are active investors, and work terribly
   hard to succeed.    The irony is that although many
   Arabic families have been in Haiti for generations,
   they don't see themselves as Haitians.


Right now, we are told unemployment in the U.S. is down to
4%, a 30 year low.  Many American companies cannot find
employees, and minimum wage Americans frequently come with
poor educations, to say nothing of "work ethic" and/or
"attitude" problems.  

In Haiti, one can find an unlimited pool of people,
(granted, mostly uneducated) willing to work all day for
$3.  Weeding out the 'poor attitude' cases is easy, and
even the uneducated are very willing to learn... although
lack of school experience typically means training takes
longer than in the States.


Given the extreme dicotomy in the two preceding paragraphs,
there ought to be real economic incentive to transfer any
of a number of jobs presently performed in the States to
Haiti.  Americans knowing nothing about Haiti can be
excused for being fearful of the place.. all they know is
THE PHRASE they have heard in the media.  But most on this
list are not your average American.  You folks DO know
Haiti and profess a sincere interest in contributing to its

So here's the challenge to you stateside Diaspora (not to
be taken in the pejorative sense).  Look around and find a
job that needs doing.  A company with a labor intensive
component... probably in manufacturing, but even some
service industries qualify.  Learn the job throughly
yourself, make sure you have a customer in the States....
maybe that company up the street that has been advertising
for workers.  Then, take the plunge.  Come on down to Haiti
and share your vision and knowledge with people here
willing to start on the ground floor with you.  Don't
expect Haitian government help, but you can find
individuals willing to assist.  


It's not as easy as it sounds, but persistence WILL pay
off, particularly if you stay positive and are open-minded
enough to modify your original idea as you go along.  Oh,
and five years from now (because this is a long term
project), give the Corbett List a full report on how you're
doing... and hopefully encourage a few others to follow in
your footsteps.  Score yourself on how many jobs in Haiti
you have created, and if you have been able to raise the
salaries of those who have toughed it out with you for a
few years! 

And good luck,
Lance Durban

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