Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow
Haiti, located 50 miles east of Cuba, is known to be the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
Although it is only the size of the State of Maryland, over 11 million people crowd in to share and to live off its land.
65% of the total population is under age 25.
In a land where only 39% of the people are educated and 85% of the work force is unemployed, there is a constant struggle to survive on the average income of $2 per day, With 80% living below the poverty line, it is not difficult to understand that 50% are undernourished.
First discovered by Columbus, and built from the ashes of slavery, Haiti suffered many setbacks. The natives, Arawak Indians, died from disease and overwork by their Spanish overlords.
In the 1700s and 1800s, Haiti became the destination of African slaves brought in by the French to work their plantations. They were tortured and subjected to terrible bondage for more than 100 years.
In 1804, these slaves fought a succesful revolution and became the world’s first black republic.
The story is often told of the pact that was made with the devil at that time. The leader of Haiti agreed that if he gained power and was given the wealth of the country, he would then give this land to the devil.
Darkness, deceit, disease and poverty have reigned since that day.
Once the world’s most fertile land, Haiti today is barren. The lush forests have been stripped away to produce charcoal to fuel cooking fires.
Topsoil has been washed into the sea and the land today has stopped producing food enough to feed its people.
Many discouraged men leave home in search of work but never return, thus putting added pressure on the women to somehow produce income to feed and care for their already-neglected children.
Children exist in unimaginable poverty and misery and are denied the very basic needs in life. Malnutrition, disease and death threaten daily. Statistics show that 50% of these children will die before age 5.