16 May 2010
In many previous contributions I have talked about the amazing resilience of Haitian business, however small scale it is. Here I have collected a number of examples, of typically Haitian business, and of the type of business that has sprung up since the earthquake. Some of it, to be sure, is really sad: people demolishing their own house with a sledge hammer, because it has been damaged beyond repair, that must rank among the cruelest activities on earth, taking down your own biggest physical asset – and for sure it wasn’t insured. I saw a sign today advertising what is obviously another new business, “demoliseur des maison” – house demolisher -, so if it gets emotionally too much, you can always hire someone to do it for you. But sad it is.
Here is another sad one: before the earthquake I am sure you couldn’t find a wheelchair in Haiti, not easily, now they are for sale in droves on every corner. I have said earlier, Haitians monitise everything, but I sure hope that these are spare ones, not somebody’s wheelchair sold in order to access the more basic amenities, like food.
Talking about monitising, much of the shelter kits, and the hygiene kits, and the kitchen kits, and the mosquito nets, have found their way to the market.
Several other ‘new’ business has been established, or has grown, not in the least the scrap metal dealer. With so many iron bars being salvaged from the demolished houses, and other metal parts, from roofs, fences, doors etc., this is booming business.
But there is also the business that was there before the quake, and will stay as long as necessary, or at least as long as services do not improve.
next: the recruitment