Last week, it was my privilege to testify before the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations at their hearing on "Haiti: from Rescue to Recovery and Reconstruction."
I opened my testimony thus: "Today, my hope is to do justice to Haiti not by chronicling the events of the past two weeks, which are well known to you, but by attesting to the possibility of hope for the country, and of the importance of meaningful investment and sustainable development in Haiti. That said, I will not pretend that hope is not at times difficult to muster."
In my role as the UN Deputy Special Envoy for Haiti, as well as from my long-standing homes at Partners In Health and at Harvard, I have witnessed the many varieties of privation endured by Haiti as well as the country's extraordinary resilience. But in more than twenty-five years of working there, I have never seen devastation or suffering on this scale. The response from our community has been equally immense: acts of great courage within Haiti, and of great generosity beyond it.
I know that Haiti can and will recover. I believe that there is an opportunity to build Haiti back better. I am convinced that it will require a massive and ongoing commitment on all of our parts, and that the road will be a long one. We are fortunate to have many partners in this effort, in addition to the five thousand employees of Zanmi Lasante: my colleagues now joining them in Haiti, many of whom have been sharing updates with us and with you; the extraordinary team in Boston; the legions of PIH supporters, old and new, as well as our organizational partners and our colleagues at the Clinton Foundation and the UN. Together, we are all working to serve the people of Haiti, especially those marginalized by chronic poverty as well as the acute insult (to use medical terms) of January 12.
Please join us.
Paul Farmer (PIH co-founder)
To read the rest of Paul's Senate testimony, click here.