Beganabe, in the Central Plateau
Charity perpetuates poverty
Charity is dishonest
Charity takes away choices
Beganabe, in the Central Plateau and a few miles north of the city of Hinche, is a remote desolate expanse, dry and treeless which leaves the air thick with dust. Hinche is the home of Haitian revolutionary, Charlemagne Péralte who led a resistance movement known as Cacos against the US occupation from 1915-1934. Péralte was assassinated by the US in 1919 and in an act of barbarity, crucified his body to a door for public display.
“Le Mouvement Paysan Papaye (MPP)” commune outside Beganabe is an agricultural project of 6 hamlets each with 10 individual homes created to support 60 family units engaging in sustainable agricultural livelihoods. In January this year, I visited one of the hamlets of which 8 homes were occupied. Each family in the project has received the following: a 3 roomed house with one small outhouse at the rear; a vegetable garden area with seeds and a promise of 2 goats and 6 chickens which have yet to be delivered; a short term supply of basic foods such as rice, beans and oil.
Some distance from the houses are a number of latrines, one shared by two or three families. There is one water tap for the whole hamlet about 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile from the houses depending on the location of the house. This single water supply is for gardens, washing, cooking and drinking. At the center of the village is a community building.
The houses have no windows, just slats for air. There are no ceilings below the zinc roof to protect from the extreme cold nights and burning hot days. There is no plumbing and no bathrooms. The outhouses have no doors and it is not clear whether they are supposed to be kitchens or bathrooms. This is how houses for the poor are built in Haiti, always the bare minimum.