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U.N. Peacekeepers Sexually Exploited Haitian Women, Report Says

A new investigation finds that abuse was rampant among peacekeepers.

U.N. peacekeepers in Haiti. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

A new report due to be released by the U.N. Office of Internal Oversight Services alleges that members of a U.N. peacekeeping mission traded neccessities like food and medicine in exchange for sex with at least 225 Haitian women. The investigation, which took place a year ago in Haiti, where more than 8,000 peacekeepers have been stationed since 2004, found a slew of human rights abuses, including the rape of minors under the age of 18.

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The Economic Case for Loving This Spiky, Tropical Fruit

The underrated breadfruit holds big promise for independent farmers and small business owners in the Caribbean

Original image by Hans Hillewaert via Wikimedia Commons

A while back, I first wrote about the spiky, green football that is the breadfruit. It was perhaps the most enthusiastic endorsement of a piece of fruit I’ll ever pen in my life. Several groups had been promoting the low-maintenance, bountiful, and nutritious produce as a partial solution to hunger in the world’s poor, rural, and growing tropics. Unfortunately, breadfruit carried a reputation for blandness, and getting new groups to adopt it had been a challenge. But that initial blandness also makes breadfruit an excellent blank slate as it can be adapted into a variety of different foods. I suggested that once the fruit’s modern culinary potential had been further explored, some organizations would start to work beyond breadfruit’s basic ability to feed the hungry. By finding new ways to preserve, package, and sell this fertile, yet highly perishable produce, an emerging breadfruit industry could create new jobs and businesses around the world.

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A Pageant That's Beautiful in More Ways Than One

Artist Kehinde Wiley takes his renowned portraiture skills to Haiti for the latest iteration of his series The World Stage.

Kehinde Wiley, Venus at Paphos (The World Stage: Haiti), 2014. Oil on linen 60 x 48 in (152.5 x 122 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Roberts & Tilton, Culver City, California.

Artist Kehinde Wiley has been traveling the globe for the past few years, handpicking locals from various stops as muses for his lush, classical photographs and paintings. Wiley's work bestows powerful, complex auras upon his subjects, who are usually black men. The series, called The World Stage, has visited Jamaica, Israel, France, India, Brazil, Lagos, Dakar, China, and Sri Lanka.

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I was diagnosed with asthma in 1984. It was easy for me, then a student at Harvard Medical School, to get the medication I needed, even as I shuttled between Haiti and Harvard.
My Haitian colleagues, who had built a clinic in rural Haiti, and I attended to the sick and injured as best we could. We could see that much more preventive care was needed, and to this end we trained and salaried community health workers in dozens of villages. Part of my job was to visit them and their neighbors. One day I walked eight miles to attend a town meeting in a thatch-roofed, dirt-floored church. Afterward, anxious to get back, I looked up at the gathering storm clouds. It was afternoon already, and getting back across the reservoir meant a lot more walking, even if we took a dug-out canoe halfway.
“Dr. Paul, he can’t breathe!”
A community health worker wanted me to see a patient. I had an image, in my mind, of an older person, short of breath. I responded firmly, “The patient’s home is not even in the right direction and it will soon be dark. He should get to the hospital for a chest X-ray and lab tests.” I added, perhaps guiltily, “I didn’t even bring my stethoscope.”
The sick man’s young wife came to my side. “Please come see him. He’s been sick since yesterday.” Frustrated, I acceded, complaining en route that whatever he had would be better treated in the hospital.
It took 45 minutes to reach the house. There, leaning against a dirty pillow on a mat on the floor, was Jean. His muscles looked corded and tensed; his lips were the color of bruises; and he couldn’t speak. Even without a stethoscope, I could see that he was dying of nothing other than an asthma attack.

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Cookstove With Simple Technology for High Environmental Impact in Haiti

The Adventure Project brings simple technology to families in Haiti for high-impact environmental and health benefits.


It’s always nice to have someone to look up to—and a project to look up to can be equally inspiring. This week, Designed Good is featuring The Adventure Project—an initiative that uses simple technology for high-impact environmental and health benefits. Over the past two years, The Adventure Project has brought 4,700 charcoal-efficient stoves to families in Haiti. The stoves show off one of the seemingly simpler feats in engineering, but the changes they make are sweeping. Each stove cuts charcoal use in half, which saves families 20 percent of their cooking expenses and saves six trees per year.

As children sit around the fire as their mothers cook dinner, inhaling the smoke equates to smoking two packs of cigarettes a day. The closed design of the charcoal-efficient stove reduces carbon emissions and drastically reduces health risks of those in the vicinity. The stoves themselves are also built by women in Port-au-Prince, providing a steady income and a means of reinvesting in their communities.

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Two Filmmakers Are Working to Hold the U.N. Responsible for Cholera in Haiti

The makers of the documentary "Baseball in the Time of Cholera" have taken their fight to Capitol Hill.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BK318mYuBWg

In the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake, U.N. relief workers and peacekeepers flooded the badly shaken island nation, but sadly, they brought with them the deadly strains of a cholera epidemic that continues to kill. Earlier in the month, we profiled two filmmakers who have made it their goal to hold the U.N. responsible and stop the spread of infection. The makers of the documentary Baseball in the Time of Cholera have taken their fight to Capitol Hill and are beginning to see some promising results.

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