24 June 2010

Fighting 'ensekerite'

You don't need to know Haitian Creole to have an idea of what "ensekerite" means. It looks like "insecurity" and indeed, it's the local word used to describe the country's past and current perpetual condition of instability.

An article in the MIT News caught my eye, focusing on the claims of Erica James, an anthropologist at the Institute, that the country needs a more focused rebuilding from within rather than well meaning yet outside aid. She targets the psychological trauma faced by Haitians, which I've considered but never really thought about deeply. The media broadcasts horrific photos of destruction and despair, but the crux of their stories are rarely about mending people rather than mending infrastructure.

I guess this goes back to what I've mentioned in previous posts: equipping people to help themselves.  But easier said than done...

The rubble project I was working on last semester has been put on pause lately, although I'd like to inject some life into it. I feel torn between 2 approaches: learning more about the technical side of potential solutions and bringing the project to a point that it can be implemented, OR taking a step back and learning as much as I can about Haiti, the people, the culture, the history. But maybe they need not be such mutually exclusive approaches ... time as a limiting factor, though, gets me.

There's the enduring 'ensekerite' that Haitians experience, and then there's my own temporary 'ensekerite' to fight against.