It’s official. Michel “Sweet Mickey” Martely is Haiti’s new president with 67% of the vote.
We’ve got a training class happening right now, so it was interesting to see everyones reactions when the announcement was made. We were actually surprised because we read the preliminary results online over three hours before the radio announcement was scheduled to be made at 5pm. When we came down for dinner at 6pm we saw people gathered around radios and listening to the radio on their cell phones, thinking the results had already been announced. The announcements actually started with deputies of each region in the country etc, and then the final announcement of president was made just after 6pm.
There was some jumping and cheering in our yard, and the noise that came up from the community rivaled that from after the earthquake. One thing I love about Haitian culture is that people are SO expressive. You wouldn’t hear an audible roar about election results in North America. I mean, maybe in a campaign office, but not in the streets so everyone in the community can hear.
What was most interesting is that after we finished eating I went around to the driveway where everyone was standing to see what peoples thoughts were. I just stood in the middle of an almost circle and listened. On one side were the students, many of who were in their mid-30s or younger. They were overjoyed.
On the other side were Yonese, Rosie and some of the older students who were in their 40’s. Completely different response. Yonese said repeatedly, “You’re happy now, but we’ll see in one or two years if you’re saying the same thing! Remember when Aristide was elected? Everyone was happy then and looked what happened a few years later. You remember that!” She wasn’t angry. She was just trying to make a point that sometimes the reasons people are happy about who is elected at the onset change drastically when a couple years later they still don’t have more jobs, the country is still unstable, and the president is, as many before them, involved in corruption and only looking to what benefits themselves.
A few minutes later out delivery truck arrived back with three of our workers. Mixed feelings. When I asked Michelet what he thought he simply shrugged and said, “God is my president.” Nuf said. The difference between the older generation and the younger generation was obvious this evening and really interesting. The older generation remember the troubles of the past. They remember how things were during the Duvalier times, and they will often say things like, “Duvalier was hard, but at least there was order and everyone ate.” The younger generation, in my observations and from conversations, seem to vote based on things like popularity. Not much different from other countries I guess.
So now we wait and see. Pray for Haiti. We so badly want to see the country stabilized. We want to see progress. It’s hard to feel hopeful about that some days.
To do some reading go HERE.