What impact will it have on Haiti, long term? That is a really big question and it’s one that I don’t feel anywhere close to being qualified to answer, but I’m going to give some thoughts on it any way…….

Everything, or almost everything, is harder to do in Haiti than it was before.

The cost of living has risen dramatically – and much of that is the fault of governmental policies (and not just Haitian policies) and also the unlimited budgets of NGOs who came in to “help” and spent $5,000 a month to rent a house and bought $70,000 SUVs to drive around in.

What’s an example of how governmental policies have hurt? The US implemented subsidies on rice and allowed its rice farmers to sell rice for significantly below market value and significantly below what Haitian rice farmers could sell it for. This destroyed the Haitian rice market and put many people out of work. At the same time, it actually drove prices up for other items.

Totally unscientific, but my “gut feeling” from interactions with others who work and live on the front lines in Haiti is that there are more people living “on the edge” now than there were before the quake. Why is that? A couple of thoughts – many families lost one or more of their breadwinners in the earthquake – through death or through amputations and other injuries that prevent them from working.   Also, life is harder in Haiti now than it was.  That doesn’t even take into account the mental and emotional toll that the earthquake and the aftermath have taken.

There’s a growing distrust of NGOs and whether their motives are true and pure. Unfortunately there are too many examples of funds that were misused after the earthquake and promises that were not kept.