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