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#2872: Structural change for visitors (fwd)

From: J. David Lyall <david@lyalls.net>

Back to the topic of charity vs structural change.

I have a suggestion about structural SUPPORT, rather
than change. Supporting the traditional indiginous (sp?)
educated craftsman, or Bos.

A Bos tailor is one of the core members of the petit bujwa.
A respected master craftsman, they are much in evidence
in every town, even with the massive invasion of used clothes
(which exists everywhere in the underdeveloped world).

My limited travelling experience leads me to conclude that
the local tailor is much more in evidence, and more important,
than in many other poor countries.

Every time I visit Hayti I go to the tailor and order clothes.
It is not expensive, and the pleasure of wearing clothes actually
custom made by hand is immeasurable. Tailor made clothes in
Hayti are cheaper than new pret a porter clothes in the U.S.

Much to my surprize I recently discovered that many (perhaps most)
resident foreigners have never visited a tailor. A certain disdain for
the presumed skills of local tailors was expressed to me by
resident aid workers.

Now, I realize that aid workers can get very cynical, very fast.
Trying to convince a conservative rural minded people to adopt
new techniques can be frustrating I'm sure.

Supporting the existing educated craftsman class can do nothing
but enhance and support the percieved value of education,
especially the crafts. ( "the crafts" in the US labor movement
means "building trades" or construction workers by the way)

On this slight aside of skilled construction workers I made
an unpleasant discovery. There seem to be no skilled construction
workers in Haiti. Labadie is engaged in a large construction project
( I rode the tap tap over there ) and the workers are from the

It may be that there are no Haitian workers trained
to lay heavy electrical cable. I know that Haitian machine operators
(operating engineers in the US) exist, the Okap airport work is
being done by a local company. That is a much less technical
project than the work being done at Labadie.

The port at St Marc is being rebuilt and most of the workers
are foreigners. Blancs, actually. Roughnecks, welders, divers,
machine operators. This is a Haitian government project
and they seem to be unable to find qualified Haitians to do
the work. Perhaps they don't even ask, I have no idea.

I know that much of the highway work is done by Dominicans,
and administered by Quebekwa who are paid north american salaries
and given houses and land rovers.

So, one conclusion and advocay on my part on the subject
of structural change is to support the existing and the expansion 
of the local skilled working class.

Visitors and resident blan can do this by visiting a tailor and spending 
a little money.
The Haitian government could do this by attempting to hire qualified 
I do know that there are Haitian university civil engineering graduates.
I've met them on the street, trying to work as guides.
The fact that trained civil engineers are begging while many millions 
being spent importing foreigners is a scandal.

J. David Lyall,
  [ Jedidiah Daudi in full ki-Swahili ]