Confession of a Haitian working for an American non-profit organization in Haiti

17 Jul

My name is Myrlande Charelus, commonly known as MC. I am a native Haitian. I just thought this was a proper way to start writing this blog. While I was interning in Washington D.C last year, I made a vow to God that I was going to dedicate three months of my life to volunteer either in Haiti or Africa, specifically Rwanda. Not knowing lots about out-of-country internships, I decided to ask my colleagues about it.

Although Haiti was at the top of my list, Rwanda was my number one choice. I knew I wanted to go somewhere I was not familiar. I just wanted to blend within and do what God’s intended me to do. As I spoke to my colleagues about my goals for the next summer, here’s the exact answer I got from one of them, “how do you expect people to help your country when you’re not doing it yourself?” “How do you expect to go clean other people’s home when yours is unclean?” for days I thought about his comments; at first I really didn’t like any of it. I was offended and I didn’t really need others to make my decision anymore. I donated money when I needed to, I prayed about Haiti; I thought to myself that was it. I prayed about it and think about it every single day. Then one day God spoke to me about it and then I finally realized that I needed to do more. There, choice was made. Haiti was my final decision.

In late November, I started to look for long term internships in Haiti and there I stumbled across World Wide Village, (WWV) a non-profit organization who claimed they do a lot in Haiti. Since WWV was the first site that popped in on Google when I type “Haiti internships” I knew it had to be good, WWV must be well known. I knew it had to be THE INTERNSHIP. Although I searched other organizations, my mind was already made; WWV, it was. I called and requested more info and I received them on the same day. WOW! I liked these people already. I met all the requirements and application was filled the next day.

May 24th, I started my internship with WWV, the only Black, Haitian girl in a bunch. Also that same day, I begun to think this wasn’t what I expected. I didn’t really know what I was putting myself into, but I knew I wanted to help the Haitian people. Everything was unorganized and employees were quitting left and right. I didn’t know much about WWV; however I knew something was not right.

  • WWV claimed they sponsor orphanages in Haiti; yet these kids are dying of starvation and other diseases. One of the darkest days I experienced while working at one of the orphanages is when Samantha, one of the interns who had to donate 20 USD to one of foster moms so she could have fed the kids that night. Yet World Wide Village’s president claimed that Children in Haiti are his priority.
  • WWV claimed that they give gardens to families. These gardens are about 10’X10’ and they would “pick and choose” who they wanted to give these gardens to.
  • WWV claimed they give kids clean water, this project literally started recently. We, the interns went to Williamson, Archaie, where we surveyed the community about its needs. The most common need was clean water.
  • •WWV website tells a lot; but in reality most of it is not true.

Why aren’t people complaining about WWV? Why am I the one complaining about it? Since I haven’t been there for so long, why now? Why me? The people who are willing to talk about it are afraid they might get fired from the job! and who wants to be fired right now in Haiti? These questions make me wonder about of other non-profits organizations in Haiti who claimed they’re helping out. WWV’s president takes trip to Haiti from St. Paul, MN every other week. We all know flying first class isn’t cheap. Where does all this money come from? WWV’s money; the money YOU donated to support the kids in Haiti. Why am I telling you this? I am sick and tired of non-profits organizations making money out of Haiti’s back; whether its owned by Haitians or non-Haitians.

You can tell whether someone is passionate about his or her job by how he or she speaks about it. From the time I worked for WWV to this day, the president of WWV barely ever had anything nice to say about Haiti or its people. It’s always better to think twice before anyone can speak; sometimes you just don’t know how others will take it. I’m not sure how someone can be passionate about Haiti, but when everything goes wrong; then he or she turns back on its people. Something goes missing, “don’t worry, it’s the Haitian staffs who took it, don’t even ask the Americans, it wasn’t them”, “Haitians like to be sitting around and let others come and fix their problems” or “The only reason he talks to you is because you’re a woman, I have seen how Haitian men act around women” and what kills me the most is this one, ‘I think Haitian women need help on how to raise their kids.” Wait? What does that say about me? I am Haitian and my parents are Haitians. Does that mean my parents didn’t do a great job raising me? And remember I am the only Haitian in a bunch when all these things are being said, except the cooks and the people who work in the house.

What I am trying to say, before you put yourself in my situation; make sure you know a lot about the organization you want to intern for. DO YOUR RESEARCH; know where the money you’re paying for is going. Out of eight (8) interns who started this program two months ago, five (5) have quitted early. Something is definitely not right. I am leaving WWV today, not regretting my decision; I met some amazing people here; Haitians and non-Haitians. I explored the beauty of Haiti, the people, the food etc. However, I wish I knew what I know today months ago. My dream is to see Haiti back on its feet someday, but with the kind of people such as WWV “helping” Haiti, this dream will never come true. My name is Myrlande and I am the voice of the Haitians who can’t speak up about this matter.

Thanks for reading!

below is a picture of  five of the WWV interns

About these ads

43 Responses to “Confession of a Haitian working for an American non-profit organization in Haiti”

  1. Franz July 20, 2012 at 10:23 pm #

    I am sorry to hear about your ordeal in Haiti, and it’s very sad to hear about things like that. It’s no secret that most of the so call non profit organizations are not doing what they are suppose to be doing which is to help the Haitian people. Even the Haitian government is doing the same thing so what do you expect from non Haitians. I believe that Haiti will only change when people like yourself, Haitians live abroad are willing to go and do the dirty work and not expect non profit organizations to do it for them and sending money is not enough. Haiti is my love and I one day will go back and work with a non profit to help hopefully I have a better experience. Don’t let this experience change anything about how you feel for your country and you doing the internship good or bad is applaudable. Haiti needs people like you now more then ever.

  2. Thirdworldgirl July 20, 2012 at 10:36 pm #

    Doing research won’t be helpful, they’re all like that, whether they’re charity based or not, from the big ones to the small ones. Things that are promised are never accomplished, they say it’s because of Haiti’s infrastructure problem, but then you see money being spent on things that have NOTHING to do with the beneficiaries. The bigger orgs just know how to hide it better. I’ve been experiencing it first-hand for several years and it’s worse when other Haitians tell you to stick with it because it’s a job. And this doesn’t only happen in Haiti. Unfortunately this is more the rule than the exception :-/

  3. disillusioned July 22, 2012 at 12:07 am #

    I unfortunately experienced similar. I saw exceptional, qualified, Haitian nationals who spoke out against the majority white American leadership fired. I saw money sit in the bank rather than moved to the field where it was needed. I lasted long enough to train a local to take over my position and found a new organization to work with. Research before you give. Follow up after you give. Demand results. Don’t be fooled by the excuses.

  4. Ironda July 22, 2012 at 3:57 pm #

    Your heart was in the right place, you wanted to do more for the people of Haiti. Unfortunately, people have used this tragedy to further victimize the Haitian people. I pray that this experience does not discourage you but give you the momentum to do more for our people. Thank you for sharing your story.

  5. JohnA July 22, 2012 at 4:17 pm #

    The Haitian government needs to reduce and limit the number of NGOs operating in Haiti and needs to conduct inspections of their facilities. These foreigners can play by the rules or they can take their Yankee asses out of the country.

  6. louis jean Ruben July 22, 2012 at 4:18 pm #

    i wanna be partake

  7. Dessalines July 22, 2012 at 4:32 pm #

    It is no secret…more than 90% of non-profit organizations are profit driven. Not just in Haiti, it’s everywhere around the world, even here in America. What makes the Haiti’s case unique, they don’t give any aids to Haitian Government; all the aids funnel through the NGO’s with no oversights. THIS IS THE RESULT OF A FAIL GOVERNMENT…POOR HAITI!!!!

  8. Marie F. Denis-Luque July 22, 2012 at 4:56 pm #

    Hi Myrlance,
    I’m was happy to read your post. I’m glad you shared your experience on the World Wide Web for all to read. That way, the discussion will begin. I hope this unfortunate experience will not deter you from doing work in Haiti. I have a nonprofit in Haiti for HIV+ abandoned children. Should you wish to someday work with us, just drop me a line or two. Our website – http://www.choaids.org
    It’s a small organization that has been in operation for 9 years. We don’t have big funding, but we do what we say we would do. I really wish you would contact me. Blessings

  9. KD Lake July 22, 2012 at 7:18 pm #

    wow this is crazy! And so true…there will be wolves in sheep clothing!! I work with Mission of Hope:Haiti…and have been with them for 2 years. I absolutely LOVE it and LOVE what they do.They stand by what they say they do…and there a tons of Haitians on staff (they are striving to be Haitian run) and tons of opportunities. I hope that you will still look into going and not rite off all organizations :D God saw your heart intent and will honor you when you seek and pray about the next trip (if you seek to go again) Check out MOH and maybe try them ;)
    http://www.mohhaiti.org

  10. Emann Joasil July 22, 2012 at 7:56 pm #

    Myrlande, thanks for sharing your sad experience with us. This is the type of story these politicians in Haiti need to read so they could wake up from their coma.

    I am not one to unjustly bash these NGOs in Haiti because I think they are instruments that must be put to good use by the people they are there to serve.

    Where is the Haitian government on this? When will we start seeing some structure put in place to coordinate and oversee the activities of these NGOs currently operating in the country? What is the sense of having hundreds of NGOs in a country, yet the sad reality they are there to tackle is getting worse? You do not need to be a rocket scientist to realize that something is not doing right.

    The majority of these NGOs are not doing anything to render the situation in Haiti better. These workers are in the country to be on vacation and enjoy the nice weather while getting paid mad money for not doing a damn thing. Who would not love such a job?

    This BS, bogus and bootlegged non-government organization known by the name of World Wide Village, the NGO being exposed in this blog, needs to be asked to live the country immediately. This is unacceptable.

    President Martelly, remember you had made a campaign promise to regularize and structure the operations of these NGOs in Haiti, so we are IMPATIENTLY waiting for that day to come. We will not forget.

  11. Emann Joasil July 22, 2012 at 8:06 pm #

    *asked to leave…

  12. Ronnel Luc July 22, 2012 at 8:47 pm #

    I’ve read it,Emann,and all I have to say is:Mh!However,I’m in no way close to being surprised by MC’s findings because this is a country where everything most people do, regardless of their motivation,is for their own interests.Shame itself is not even shameful enough to them.The Haitian government does NOT control anything in the country.I’m saying again:the Haitian government does not have even one tiny bit of control over anything in this country.Just so you remember.We, the people of Haiti,have no real progressive future, by just watching it happen the way we do everyday.The MC’s confession is commonhood of whomever plans to experience the land from overseas.That is why they don’t like us coming from abroad,because, with us,<>Even when they won’t be embarassed about it.We can only hope to make whatever change is possible over there,with our help.We can continue to strive for that change.Hope is not dead, along as we’re still around.They say:<>

  13. ge July 22, 2012 at 9:14 pm #

    It’s time we Haitian do for our country and stop waiting for others to do it. It’s not the first time i hear white people make those comments about haitians
    people. That needs to stop

  14. yanick coles July 22, 2012 at 9:20 pm #

    Myrlande thank you for sharing your experience. I have been trying for two years to assist in Haiti via one of the publisized organizations to no avail. I suspect they do not wish to answer my questions. It is unfortunate that most of these NGOs are for the founders profit and not for the beneficiaries whose situations are used to exploit for personal gain. agree monitoring from the government is lacking.a strong arm or eyes that could curb or end the org/individuals who choose to make a buck off the people of Haiti. there are a few honest organizations doing great work on behalf of the people. it is a matter of finding the one that best fulfill the needs of the beneficiaries. when possible would suggest spending time initialy as a volunteer to have first hand knowledge on how the chosen org opperates prior to a long term committment or monitary donations. praises to you! my turn comes up next month (volunteer) will be sure to share my experience. awareness is the first step towards solving problems and change.

  15. Ron July 22, 2012 at 10:40 pm #

    MC YOUR EXPERIENCE IS A WAKE UP CALL FOR THE HAITIAN ALL OVER THE WORLD TO TAKE ACTION WITH OR WITHOUT THE GOV TO STAND FOR THE POOREST LIKE THE AMERICAN SAID BUT WE ARE NOT THE POOREST THE AMERICAN GOV USE THAT WOLD TO MAKE MONEY OF HAITI BUT ONE THING THEY SHOULD KNOW ONE DAY THEY ALL WILL PAY FOR ALL OF THESE ABUSES THEY HAVE DONE TO THE HAITIAN PEOPLE.

  16. Herns L. Eugene July 23, 2012 at 12:49 am #

    I’m very sadden by this experience MC. But don’t give up, I think this may strengthen your willingness to help Haiti and make a real difference in the lives of our beloved people in Haiti. Next time, try FHED-INC an International Relief organization built by Haitians that does tremendous works since 2000. You can visit its website to www,fhedinc.org. Keep praying and you’ll find the caring one.

  17. gina July 23, 2012 at 3:58 am #

    Am glad someone is standing up telling the truth

  18. Michael Mauvais July 23, 2012 at 6:32 am #

    Some questions to all my fellow country men and women: why do we (Haitians, African-Americans or African descendants in general) continue to rely on racist white organizations that have no vested interest in us; why haven’t we taken it upon ourselves to build our own African-centered organizations and infastructure to empower ourselves socially and economically?

  19. YSii Showroom (@YSiiShowroom) July 23, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

    Wow!!!!! you know I was in Haiti recently, and I can tell that some Non-profits are a bit weary whenever you tell them you live in the US. It was as if they think you are there to take their measurement, and report back. Make sense now!!!

    http://ysiishowroom.blogspot.com/

  20. Moise Garcon July 23, 2012 at 3:27 pm #

    From my Facebook wall:
    I congratulate this Haitian for doing the right thing. Whether her story is true or false (or half true, half false), she steps forward, that’s what matter and that’s what Haiti has needed for the past 208 years. We need more of her in all areas of work in Haiti. People who can testify.
    Now, as I always ask people: What are we going to do about it?
    For me personally, I’m going to translate this report and send it to the right people, and I’ll make sure something is being done, because I know how to do it.

    Looking forward to a serious investigation.

    P.S Hopefully, you will be available for any follow up regarding this case.
    For any additional info, feel free to send me an email at: moise.garcon@diplomatie.ht.

    May God bless you.

  21. Janice Walker July 23, 2012 at 3:41 pm #

    The corruption, bribs, who you know and the secret life of the rich runs deep!
    We know 1st hand having spent most of last 14 months in Haiti.
    We KNOW we have a solution to their needs and to EMPOWER. We have been at both sites and did accessment to expand their agriculture up to 400%. We offer synergy. They only thing lacking is water. Underground labor intences , rainwater harvesting, agriculture and sanitation systems are the sustaianble choise. We could supply all the villiges needs in food poduction, health , hygene and secure fresh water. Help with flash flooding and erosion control

    • lilly July 23, 2012 at 10:37 pm #

      Not sure what you are saying. Get help writing/editing. We want to understand what you are sharing.

  22. Moise Garcon July 23, 2012 at 3:48 pm #

    I guess there is a pattern here. Here is another one: http://samanthamgross.blogspot.com/2012/07/communication.html?m=1&fb_source=message
    Feel free to share more.
    Thanks.

  23. remarie July 23, 2012 at 11:01 pm #

    MC, Do not consider giving up. You are, well we all are fortunate that your eyes are opened. Next time, join the efforts of another native who is working to improve his old neighborhood. That’s the way to do it, block by block. The Haitian & American governments have little to offer you. Do not welcome aid that comes with constraints that make you uncomfortable. If you can find other members of the diaspora whose families lived/live in a common area, discuss you areas of expertise, passions & interest. Create a priority list and get to work. People will donate to your efforts if you’ll survey the people’s needs first and start projects you can finish. Be honest. Be transparent. Post pics. Pray. As a believer in Christ you are a missionary. Go.
    Organizations like The Haitian Alliance of Atlanta, Georgia are doing good work with private/personal funding. you can too. see http://www.transformhaiti.org

  24. omegatank01 July 24, 2012 at 4:25 am #

    NGOs are a business and “should” be ran as such. Reading this reminded me of an emotional and immature person who would ironically blow more money and yield even less results. NGOs do have their issues and drawbacks but lets be honest, Haitians talk a good game about what they would do but really couldn’t do so, if the tables were turned. we need to stop romanticizing the idea that we somehow know best for Haiti. if so why haven’t we applied it? why haven’t we solve these problems? We might have issues with NGOs but there are much more internal problems that the Haitian culture has yet to take responsibility for.

  25. Junior July 24, 2012 at 8:07 pm #

    Non-Profit organization are nothing but a scam. Most of these people are getting big paycheck and travailing first class. Don’t get me wrong, all of the local organization are doing the same. I always think if anybody want to help, all they have to do is bring the check to Haitian people themselves. Why bring a big staff, renting houses, cars etc. while there are so many able Haitian to do the same job. But guest what? the whole country is so corrupt, who will handle the money?

    I think corruption is a desease that’s keep spreading with the help of impunity and we don’t stop it Haiti is DOOM……….

  26. John Hagerman July 25, 2012 at 6:07 pm #

    For all of you who simply accept MC’s comments at face value, I suggest you contact World Wide Village personally, or at least check out their Form 990s on their website at http://www.worldwidevillage.org. You’ll discover just how little truth their is in MCs blog post. I suspect her comments are more about being mad she didn’t get her way, that trying to truly help anyone. The 990s tell the story — 12 years worth of work and over 90% of the money raised going directly to programs in Haiti. Don’t believe anyone’s badmouthing until you check for the truth yourself.

    • SFtc July 29, 2012 at 5:40 am #

      John, you should disclose that you’re the marketing manager for WWV before replying.

  27. hillary yarger July 25, 2012 at 11:21 pm #

    I just interviewed with them today…can we talk? privately?

  28. mcthewriter July 26, 2012 at 10:57 am #

    It’s funny how Randy isn’t speaking up about the matter, yet John is. no surprise at all. John thinks my blog was written because I was mad with WWV and I wasn’t getting what I wanted. No, I was never asked these people for anything. I think I was the one who asked the least while I was there, compared to others. I was in Haiti, i knew how to get around and anytime I didn’t feel, I need to be at the WWV’s house, I would have jumped on a taptap and headed to my aunt’s house. I am not making anything up. I would highly suggest anyone to contact someone ( an employee or intern) who worked for WWV during my period there; ask that person about his or her experience and report about it. Or simply ask John from May to the first week of August, how many people who has or will be quitting WWV. of course he won’t give you a legit answer. John, I was in Haiti interning, working, helping the Haitian’s community, MY PEOPLE! while you were in the states, running Randy’s job. I wasn’t trying to bash WWV, but simply telling the truth. I am the voice of the people who can’t speak or refused to speak about WWV, that’s all. I don’t regret doing so and I will continue doing so; until WWV learns how to teach people properly. I would also suggest anyone to try to go to the same process I did, if anyone can, and tell me about your experience. Like i said before, DO YOUR ONW RESEARCH, FOR YOUR OWN GOOD, before anyone find his/herself in my situation.
    -M.C

    • Satyanarayana Gavarasana August 2, 2012 at 12:23 am #

      In our language, Telugu, there is a proverb: (translated loosely) Truth Hurts.
      Now that you have spoken Truth, consequences (good) will follow.
      Dr. G. Satyanarayana

  29. Tina Kotulski July 28, 2012 at 3:40 pm #

    John Hagerman is a paid employee of Randy and Pat Mortenson. His job description? Marketing Manager hired to make the non-profit (WWV) look good and provide damage control. Randy and Pat Mortenson? Well, if anyone treated me the way they both treat and have treated the interns and staff, he’d be leaving the country via…
    The two women who had the courage to speak up in their blogs, when last year alone 6 interns expressed the same sentiment but did not come forward, are to be commended for exposing the truth behind the madness of WWV.
    There are some genuine, faithful NGO’s who are honest and upfront and treat others with compassion, understanding and respect. Pat and Randy Mortenson are not one of them.
    Personally, as a Christian, I am appalled at the audacity some quote ‘en quote “christians’ will do and say to make themselves look good. But I am faithful that the truth will prevail.

  30. Haitiheart March 5, 2013 at 11:03 pm #

    I have been working for this Organization since June….I have actually met you at the Caribbean lodge in PAP…I have not been paid in 9 weeks and I am going public with it…we should talk my dear and good for you for calling them out.

    • mcthewriter March 5, 2013 at 11:20 pm #

      Yes! I would love to talk to you… Maybe we can to something together? What was your name?! Here’s my email address if you want to talk more. It’s myrlandecharelus@gmail.com

  31. beautyforashes11 April 23, 2013 at 12:22 am #

    I’ve spoken with the President from WWV, and based on our conversations, I actually think he really knows what he is talking about. Sure, it might be a bit jaded, but he is wise, and doesn’t just throw resources at Haitians without trying to figure out first how far they will actually go and if the end result will have been beneficial for all parties involved. It is smart to research your organizations first, and I’m sorry you came away with this view, but perhaps you should try and understand where he was coming from. You were there for 5 whole minutes. He has been there for years. I’m sure WWV isn’t perfect, but I can guarantee you it has some wisdom you can learn from if you would try to see things from a different perspective. There has to be hard lines and rules in situations like these or the people you are trying to help are just hurt more in the long run. Sure, you won’t get the warm fuzzy feelings that you are “helping” when you operate in this way, but it really is more sustainable in the long-run.

    • Tara Porter Livesay November 24, 2013 at 12:14 am #

      Nope. The President of WWV (Randy Mortensen) doesn’t place a high value on telling the truth. He has not “been there for years” – not at all. He has never lived in Haiti full time and does not speak the language. He flies in (especially when MN is experiencing cold weather) and flies out. His main goal is to bring teams to Haiti. What is sustainable about bringing hundreds of people in that stay a week and leave? There is a LONG HISTORY of staff and board members having issues getting Randy and Pat to have fiduciary accountability and integrity. LONG. Each month WWV staff in Haiti come to say they have not been paid and can we help them get that handled? Pat and Randy Mortensen started in Haiti in mid 2008. They claim 12 years in Haiti but I met with them before they began in ernest and it was December 2007 when I met with them — at that meeting they said nothing much had been done with the non-profit to that point. Right now they owe more than one business in Haiti money. They have misued enough funds to just allow outstanding bills to sit in Haiti. Meds and Foods for Kids is a Cap Haitian based plant that produces Medika Mamba (a medical peanut butter product for malnourished kids) and they have an $8,800 outstanding bill that is more than 12 months outstanding. This is all while bragging about caring about Haiti.
      See this post for more information: http://livesayhaiti.blogspot.com/2013/11/not-to-speak-is-to-speak-not-to-act-is.html

      • Haitiheart November 25, 2013 at 10:38 pm #

        So happy you posted here Tara…I will mention also WWV owes me over $9,000 for 5 months work in Haiti…Its true Randy does not speak the language. When in Haiti he eats well everyday has running water and power and a special private suite for him and his wife. It is a long hard battle getting them to pay up….its a sin and they are wolves in sheeps clothing

  32. Jenni October 13, 2013 at 10:33 am #

    Thank you for speaking up for our people. I plan on leaving to go work for an ONG in Haiti in couple weeks and I really happy about the awareness you are bringing in this article!

    • Roodelin Jean October 28, 2013 at 2:42 pm #

      Could you please tell how you got that job because I am also looking for a job in Haiti. I love my country and I want to bring my Emergency Management skills there to help save people lives.

  33. Jim February 14, 2014 at 7:37 am #

    MC, I wish more people would be as brave as you and speak out (good or bad). Likewise, there are lots of great NGO that are doing good work in Haiti, and have a genuine passion for the people of Haiti. I know of one NGO, FAIBIEN( http://www.faibien.org). There’ a small NGO, but they want to give back. The person in charge uses her own fund to pay teachers, but tries to get volunteer to fill in . Having been born a raised in Haiti, on a church mission trip to her village and noticed things have not changed after years; she decided to do something about it. Haiti can sometimes be a difficult place ,even when you have the best intention.

    God Bless

  34. roseline pierre April 2, 2014 at 5:41 pm #

    Wow! I had a similar experience with the same organization…send me your email and ill tell you about it

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. World Wide Village: NGO To Be Investigated In Haiti | Ekspoze! -The final word - July 22, 2012

    […] article “Confession of a Haitian working for an American non-profit organization in Haiti” by Myrlande Charelus is the type of story these politicians in Haiti need to read so they […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,042 other followers

%d bloggers like this: