During a break substitute teaching at Parkway Northwest High School in Mount Airy, Renaud Dardignac speaks with your correspondent about current conditions in his homeland, Haiti.
He laments the poor road conditions and lack of electricity that persist in Haiti, where extreme poverty existed before recent natural disasters – the devastating 2010 earthquake and the battering in the fall of 2012 by Hurricane Sandy.
Making frequent return visits, Dardignac is witness to many people continuing to live in very unhealthy conditions and suffering from rampant unemployment. Like him, many of his country people live abroad, in the “Diaspora,” and send money back home to relatives who depend on this outside support.
Dardignac believes the Haitian government has been looted of $200 million in assistance by certain unethical parties who have taken the money abroad and that it is in these parties’ interest to keep Haiti poor so as to continue benefiting from the corruption.
In the past, Haiti has had an agricultural economy and Dardignac attributes people’s reluctance to return to farming both on lack of education and fear that their products would be stolen. He wishes that the international community, which had rallied to support Haiti in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, would invest in factories around Haiti. “[Haitians] are not lazy. They like to work but they do not find work.”