Thursday, July 20, 2006

Further to the Haiti posts . . .

Further to the Haiti Diet post, and subsequent remarks from Canadian charity Starthrower Foundation founder Sharon Gaskell a few days ago, it occurred to me some people might wonder how Haitians became hungry, and had no money to pay for their children's schooling. (Starthrower raises money to pay for tuition and a bit of food for students in the Cap-Haitien area of Haiti).

Here's an excerpt from a book she recommends, Mountains Beyond Mountains, by Tracy Kidder, about Paul Farmer and his own work in Haiti.

. . . [Most peasants] had their black, low-slung Creole pigs, which they kept like bank accounts, to pay for things such as school tuition. But in the early 1980s, they lost those as well. Alarmed about an outbreak of African swine fever in the Dominican Republic, afraid that it might threaten the American pork industry, the United States led an effort to destroy all the Creole pigs in Haiti. The plan was to replace them with pigs purchased from Iowa farmers. But these were much more delicate, much more expensive to house and feed, and they didn't thrive. Many peasants ended up with pigs at all. 'When school started the year after the slaughter, enrollments had declined dramatically, throughout the country and around Cange . . .

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