Back in the summer of 2019, two cousins Arsonval M. Cantave and Emmanuel Cantave, both of whom native of Mirebalais, and currently reside in the United States, decided to seek social changemakers and leaders throughout the Haitian communities in Boston, Florida, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Haiti, and Montreal (mostly Mirebalaisien expatriates) to support transformative activities, programs and projects that can change lives for people in Mirebalais. They were inspired to create MAT after noticing a few chaotic events and incidents that were designed to shame everyone living in Mirebalais. One of those incidents involved the action of a few ill-intentioned individuals who, because of their personal frustration with the mayor of the town, decided to put human feces all over the front entrance and walls of the Town’s Hall. That and other disgusting events, like burning tires all around the town and threatening the lives of teachers, students, and ordinary citizen, led some to say enough was enough. Knowing the work could not be done by one person, that it would require knowledge of the town and an understanding of the reality on the ground, this group of individuals formally founded Mirebalais Avant Tout, Inc. (MAT) on July 9 of 2019.
The initial goal was to:
It was an ambitious goal that has grown from necessary to “have-to’s” as more social turmoil threatens to further weak-havoc the social fundamental for a people to thrive and prosper. Therefore, we call on you to join us to become a social change agent, a financial contributor, and a supporter to programs that help solve the most socio-economic challenges facing Mirebalais today. JOIN US by being a volunteer, a funding partner, a donor, or a contributor to one or more of our activities, programs, or projects.
MAT is and has always been a welcoming organization with people having different tendencies, ideologies, and beliefs. Our dynamic style of leadership relies on inputs from all members, partners, and contributors. Tolerance, clarity and transparence are keys to making our goals a reality for people we wish to serve. Since our inception in 2019, we have funded social programs and activities to people in the town of Mirebalais. Our common goal is to change lives and change minds. Our approach to project is simple and effective: Ideas ⟶ Discuss ⟶ Design ⟶ Execute.
In general term, one can say Haiti has an ecosystem that is at odd with global understanding and standard of economic development and sustainability. It’s marred by avoidable and yet constant politics that create destructive confrontation instead of constructive debates. As a matter of fact, this whole conundrum makes Haiti a tricky country to understand and appreciate. On the one hand, Haiti’s history is rich and beautiful but tainted by political turmoil that can be discouraging. On the other hand, its cultural vibrancy can make one feel the warmth of a lovely people. A dilemma for many who wish to assist, one can say. Halas!
When a person decides to live in Haiti, it certainly requires a certain level of courage and bravery. Salute to those who show such strong patriotic will and love. That’s inspirational. Sadly however, from the country’s legal birth in 1804 to its democratic freedom in 1986, most Haitians have had little economic mobility. This has resulted in too many people having extra time to listen only to those who seek to manipulate. It has also resulted in an exponential crescendo in our expressive capability to use words like revolt, revolution, mass protest, cynicism, corruption, nepotism, etc. Ironically, just take the word revolution for instance, it can imply a sense of social inequalities or dissatisfaction about ‘something’ among members of a society. It can imply having some material or aspirational possessions to defend. It can also imply the necessity to correct a defined societal imbalance. Etc. In Haiti, social imbalance is an ephemeral constant, and most people don’t have any possession to defend. Thus, the distinctively succinct evolution or emergence of an impulse to fight even when such fight is against their own self-interest. Contrarily, when everybody, in a society, has something to protect, or to claim their own, revolutionary impulses are mostly subdued.
What does that tell us? Inspirational leaders would understand this phenomenon and would help a nation and its people to lean toward making revolutions rare. Simply, they would create an environment for economic growth and upward mobility for all. Sadly, the opposite has been happening. And worst of all, it has become our normal expectation that all leaders are corrupted and are in it for themselves. The effect of such brazen cynicism is the overall wellbeing of the country is overlooked and thus making revolution endemic.
Despite all these challenges, MAT chooses to engage because of its fundamental belief that Haiti is like a small tree called “wozo,” very tiny, can bend, but can hardly be broken. That belief lights many hearts, energizes, and encourages many people. Many friends of Haiti enjoy the warmth welcome and resiliency of Haitians. Hope is alive and true because of a fundamental belief of a people that is destined to survive, to thrive and to succeed. Reenergize. Restart. Recognize the limitation of our individual will. Accept the challenges. Be encouraged by our cultural resiliency. It’s within this context that MAT wishes to quote the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.”
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