On January 11 at 4:30pm, I got a call from Chris Jacques, son and co-host of Lesly Jacques, for a radio show called "The Bridge." They invited me as a guest on air for that night at 6pm. I was excited, nervous and honored actually that they thought of me.
The topic for the night was "progress since the earthquake." I made it clear in the beginning that I can't talk about differences in the country prior to the earthquake because I had never been before it. I did, however, talk about the physical changes/improvements that I have noticed each time I've been back. Some of those improvements are: better roads, a nicer airport, increased security and people cleaning in the streets. These are things I did not see as adequate when I visited in Dec. 2011. Now, they all exist and things look better each time.
Chris and I were discussing the online tools available to the world have made it easier to show Haiti, both in a positive and negative way. We also noted that we are happy that the government is utilizing these free tools to communicate with the world on what they are doing/have done. We also mentioned that people like myself and others promoting the beauty is a great thing because we have only seen the negative and that is what most people know: the bad. Lesly did not like this very much. While I understand his frustration with the decline in the country since he left in the late 80's, his outburst and yelling was very intimidating. The show was also broadcast live online with a video cam where people were watching him get very upset. As much as anyone disagrees with another, nothing will be resolved by yelling. At the end of the day, he calmed down and we were able to talk as adults.
He rightfully explained how he was fighting for that country (along with many others) his whole life and I thank him for that. I don't know what it's like to live in Haiti. I don't know what it's like to fight for a country for close to 30 years and feel no progress. What I do know, if anything at all, is that just because I am an American/blan sharing my experiences, it doesn't mean that I don't appreciate the work of others or I am ignoring the struggles that Haiti faces. We can only move forward from here.
Let me know what you think:
From "The Bridge" Facebook page:
The Bridge is the only father son talk show format program in South Florida. Its aim is to promote family communication and help illuminate the issues in our communities and around the world. Topics such as love, politics, sex, music, sports, and everything else in between are all covered and all brought to light. Each Subject is expressed and debated with the utmost honesty while interacting with our vast audience with live callers every program. All in an effort to educate and bring back that element of fun into family dialog. The other aspect of "The Bridge" is the fusion of Hip hop culture and Haitian culture. This is the first show in South Florida to play Hip Hop and Rnb along side Compas and Zouk every week realistically depicting what a young Haitian-American would listen to in their every day lives. The Bridge is a show for the community, ran by the community, who's sole purpose is elevating the community. Come cross The Bridge!