Customer Review

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where was the expertise?, October 26, 2011
This review is from: Haiti After the Earthquake (Hardcover)
I found this book to be heartbreaking and inspiring and informing in that it tackled the questions so many have of why after all the aid and money sent to Haiti after the earthquake, conditions are still terrible. I appreciated the fact that it was written in real time as events were happening and gave such a sense of the difficulties of coordinating the good will of so many people and organizations.

"It was, for all of us, an entirely unprecedented circumstance. We were never sure what to do and were left with doubts about 'disaster-relief expertise,' even when those we encountered proclaimed surety. We wanted to be rescued by expertise, but we never were- this was the long, hard lesson of the quake."

I learned one of the main movers and shakers who was able to cut through red tape and think creatively about the recovery effort was Bill Clinton.

"Again, this idea was hardly innovative-integrated rural development is one of the great cliches in such circles-but implementation itself was innovation. "GSD" as Clinton liked to say: get stuff done."

As other reviewers have stated, Paul Farmer's description of the recovery efforts in Rwanda were fascinating. He states that Rwanda's progress can be looked at as a beacon of hope, but many of the challenges are also very different. Didi Bertrand Farmer's essay describes the central role women have played in Rwanda's progress.

"As of 1994, 70 percent of Rwanda's population was female. It was largely on the backs of these women-victims of rape and physical violence, wives abandoned by husbands imprisoned or fleeing imprisonment, women who had lost family members, friends, neighbors, lovers, children - that Rwanda was rebuilt. And as Paul often likes to say, it was built back better. In Haiti, we often wax poetic about the role of women as the centerpost of the nation, but Rwanda has actually put this idea into practice, with an emphasis on female leadership, economic empowerment, and education."
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