World News - Tim Keefe and Kate Coward
Change For Haiti: Our Relationship with them in light of conflict
“Protests, tire burning, and road blockages are frequent and unpredictable. Violent crime, such as armed robbery, is common, and incidents of kidnapping have occurred.” This is a quote from the U.S. Department of State website, addressing the crisis in Haiti. Throughout the last year, Madame Scott and Mr. Yee (our previous head of Saints Go Global) continuously checked the travel advisories and news to see how the violence was progressing. It varied from a travel 3 advisory (reconsider travel) and a travel 4 advisory (do not travel).
In March last year, the Summer Mission service trip to Haiti had to be canceled due to the lack of safety. The school, after some consideration and conversation with people in Haiti, believed that the best thing to do regarding the yearly trip to Haiti was to cancel it because of the level of risk for the kids and chaperones who were supposed to attend.
Liliana Dowling, a senior who has been on the trip in a previous year, said “I was sad that the trip did not happen because I feel that it ruined the relationship we had and the momentum that we had created during the previous trips.” Now, we wonder how our relationship with our sister school, St.Paul’s School, in Maui, Haiti will progress.
Madame Scott works very closely with the sister school. In an interview, Madame Scott mentioned how hopeful and excited she is for the upcoming trip in June 2020. She and Father Cavanaugh are going down to Haiti in October to meet the new priest at St. Paul’s and to discuss plans for next summer.
We asked Madam Scott if she thought that the 2020 trip will be different than prior years and she responded, “In a way, I hope so... Because I feel there’s more we could do.” Madame Scott said she is thinking that the students on the trip will be asked to do more manual labor work, but she won’t know for certain until the visit this October.
In an interview with Dr. Segraves, the interim global travel coordinator, she said “We will always be monitoring the level of safety in Haiti before the trip in March and we will make a final decision in February. Safety is always the priority before we send students and chaperones.” As of now, the travel advisory has moved down to level 3, so things are looking up for Haiti and next year’s mission trip.
For months now, it has been advised to not travel to Haiti due to “crime and civil unrest.” On the U.S. government travel website, it states that upon arrival in Haiti, “travelers are sometimes targeted, followed, and violently attacked and robbed shortly after leaving the Port-au-Prince international airport.”
According to a February 2019 report on NPR, the civil unrest is from allegations that a company that President Jovenel Moise was a part of before his election in 2017 “diverted or misused billions of dollars from Venezuela's Petrocaribe fund.” Some people in Haiti want him to resign, however, he refuses to do so, saying to the people “I will not leave the country in the hands of armed gangs and drug traffickers.”
Schoolwise, the tradition of having the trip to St. Paul’s will continue. Madam Scott made it clear that “It is crucial, now more than ever, that we visit Maui and rebuild our relationship with St. Paul’s school.”
The French Club is going to host a crepe sale to support the October visit. If you want a crepe, you must pay with school supplies! All of the supplies collected will go with Madame Scott down to Haiti for her trip in October. Meanwhile, keep Maui in your thoughts and consider applying for the trip!