Perspectives on Haiti and the President’s Assassination

Just under a week ago, we woke to the news that the President of Haiti and his wife were shot in their home in the middle of the night. The President succumbed to his injuries and the First Lady of Haiti, Martine Moïse, remains hospitalized in Florida.

 

In typical fashion following the removal of a leader in Haiti, multiple actors are vying for the nation’s leadership at this time. Each having their own story claiming rightful ascension to the Presidency. As the story continues to unfold, we are using our Twitter feed to post pertinent news stories and updates. Be sure to follow Heartline on Twitter (@heartlinehaiti). 

 

While there is much to learn and discuss regarding how it came to this point, we join the international community in declaring that loss of life and acts of violence are never the solution. We offer our deepest condolences to those who are mourning this violent act.

We asked team members based in Haiti to share their thoughts regarding last week’s events. From that request, we are sharing two perspectives below. First, from Heartline’s Director of Operations, Sylvestre, and next from Heartline midwife, Katie. Katie, a visiting midwife from the US, shared her thoughts online a few days after the assassination. 

Sylvestre, Heartline’s Director of Operations in Haiti 

I would never think something like this could happen. This news arrived around 4:00 AM on Wednesday from a good friend of mine. He anticipated violence and unrest in the streets and wanted to let me know before leaving for my drive to work that morning.

 

As a Haitian citizen, I feel humiliated to see how someone from another country could assassinate Jovenel Moïse while a high level of security covered him. I suspect he was betrayed by one of his relatives or one of his close security members. Otherwise, it would be challenging for someone or a group of people to penetrate the President’s house.

 

He was not a good president for me, but I also know we could not make him become a good one through violence. I have always condemned violence and do not see it as the solution to my country’s issues.

 

As a father, I do not want my son to grow up in a country where people’s lives are not respected; the rule of law, our dignity, our value as human beings should never be taken for granted. We all need a place where we feel safe. While I know we are secure in the arms of the Lord, I believe we were created in His image, and all of us are due respect, dignity, and fair treatment. Unfortunately, I cannot change where I live or raise my family – that is in God’s Hands, and I trust Him.

 

As a leader at Heartline, I recognize that the climate in Haiti is unsafe. It is important to build security for my team and create the conditions that will allow them to perform at their best and foster trust between my crew and myself. If President Moïse, also a leader and worker, did not feel safe with high levels of security, I can’t help but wonder about myself at times.

 

As we have done in the past, we will press forward. We will invest in families and our community through maternal healthcare, economic empowerment, children’s education, and community outreach. I believe this is how we will bring about change for the nation of Haiti.

Sylvestre leads Heartline’s Operations on the Employment and Education Campus (EEC) in Croix Des Bouquets, Haiti. The EEC is home to partner organizations, Papillion Marketplace and Petite Palm, and the Heartline Bakery, Heartline Haiti offices, the Heartline Education Center, and more. Sylvestre and his wife, have one child and live in Port au Prince, Haiti. You can read more about him on the Heartline blog by clicking the link below. 

Katie, Midwife at the Heartline Maternity Center

At the time of this writing, it’s now a little over 48 hours since the nation learned of the President’s murder, yet things are already starting to feel like they are creeping back towards “normal.” The midwives who are working today told me the streets are busier and more public transport is now available. The airport has reopened, and word is out that some stores are also reopening. However, no one can yet say or know what the future will hold for this island nation.

 

Today I am reminded to thank God for His incredible provisions over the past few days. Firstly, I am most grateful that all the Maternity Center staff have remained safe. It’s been an incredibly stressful week, with Hurricane Elsa hitting Haiti last weekend. The Maternity Center employees continue to be some of the most committed and hardest workers. A few of them even spent the night here at the Maternity Center this week to not risk the commute and yet not miss work. Some of the midwives walked much longer distances to arrive at work because the public transport they rely on was almost nonexistent Wednesday or Thursday.

I’m thankful we didn’t have any emergencies. The only baby born within the last few days was born at home before the family could find a ride to the Maternity Center. Thankfully, all is well with them, and they are here now recovering.

 

Personally, I am thankful for continued access to the internet so that I could be in contact with my friends and family, for enough diesel to run the generator, for access to healthy drinking water, and for enough groceries to get by. However, I am deeply aware that many of these things I am so grateful for personally are basic necessities that many Haitians do not have access to at any time. Unfortunately, even a few days without work can leave many families here on the brink of disaster. This overwhelming reality is something I constantly grapple with emotionally, but I know that not expressing my thankfulness does not answer these problems.

 

Finally, I am thankful for so many messages of love, encouragement, and prayers. Thank you for joining me in praying for the nation of Haiti. I am incredibly honored to bear witness to the people of Haiti’s strength, their humility, and their commitment to God, to their work, their families, and their nation. Join us as we continue to pray for the future of Haiti.

What Next? How Can You Get Involved? 

Thank you for taking the time to read the perspectives and thoughts of just two of our Heartline family in Haiti. We hope their passion and dedication to invest in families resonates with you as you read their words.

Many have asked – what can I do? Here are a few ideas on how you can help invest in families in Haiti.

First, Shop Haiti. Purchase ethically crafted unique Haitian goods made by Haitian hands benefitting Haitian families. Here are a few of our favorites:

Second, support the work of Heartline, empowering the community through local leadership and investing in families.

There are many ways to invest in families with Heartline.
Click the button below to learn more. 

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