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A Solidarity Practice by the Haiti YCW PDF Print E-mail

The Salt Pond in Jean Rabel, an Experience of Collective Action


altTo be able to talk about the salt pond in Jean Rabel, we first wanted to get a deeper understanding of the activity, which implied contacting people with experience in the field. When we visited the salt pond in Jean Rabel, we could meet the team of former members who started the action in 1984-85 and they shared their experience in this collective action with us.

 

Fleurime Palvery (alias ti Pal), a main actor who discovered the salt pond, told us the story. “Some people informed me that granules that looked like salt had been seen there. Since I am a technician in salt production, I went over there, then I started digging a hole from which water came up. A few days later, I went back to the place and I saw the salt.”

 

altAfter that, he went to the state authorities to inform them about the experience, because that land belonged to the state. The authorities ignored the information. Since Fleurime was a YCW member, he shared his experience with his base group. All members of the group went to the salt pond to live this astonishing event. This was the beginning of the action of young people in the salt pond.

 

An impact in the economic life of young people

 

altFleurime had the necessary technical knowledge to operate the salt pond and he was chosen as the leader of the action. The YCW got involved as the project owner. The pond has been playing a very important role in the life of society in all neighboring areas such as Port-de Paix, Saint-Louis du Nord and Anse-a-Foleur because salt is not only used for consumption in the kitchen, but due to frequent electricity shortages, it is also a means to preserve foodstuffs such as meat.

 

Only one base group carried out the action in the Jean Rabel area from 1985 to 2006. Aware of its importance for basic services and of its impact in the economic life of young people, the Haiti YCW contributed to the strengthening of the action. From 2006 to this day, another 5 base groups of the Jean Rabel area got involved directly: Central Jean Rabel, Catron, Fond Ramadou, Petite Place and Colette. Presently 60 young people are participating directly and over 100 indirectly, but the national movement is working to promote the action and allow a lot more young people to takealt part in it. Since the experience works as a cooperative or collective, part of the salt production goes to the base group, and the rest goes to the young people working at the pond.

 

An opportunity for young workers to cooperate together

 

During the visit to the Jean Rabel area from 26 to 29 August, we went to the salt pond with a group of 25 young people for a reality check, a review and a projection of the action. The visit enabled us to understand this activity well. We looked at the reality on the ground. Then we had a meeting with the young people, the majority of whom are involved in the evaluation and definition of collective and personal changes. The salt pond is an altopportunity for young workers to cooperate together, and for the population to be provided with a faster and cheaper service. The action gives visibility to the YCW and raises awareness among young people. It reinforces the individual and collective autonomy, ensures the social integration of this category of youth, and introduces them to the world of work.

 

The main problems and challenges are the poor road infrastructures, inadequate means of transportation, a lack of technical training for young people, the travel distance to walk from Jean Rabel to the salt pond (around 10 km), as well as being dependent on natural conditions (the reaction of the sun heat on water).

 

Those young people have plans that can contribute to strengthening the action, including the purchase of mules for transport,alt technical training for the base groups, and a more ongoing review of our action and planning.

 

As YCW activists, we are driven by this action because it allows young people to live together in a community and to develop a solidarity practice in a capitalistic society we have set about to change.

 

The Jean Rabel YCW & the National Coordination of the Haiti YCW

 
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