There has been a great deal written in the international press about how little has been achieved in the year since the earthquake that hit Port-au-Prince on the 12th January 2010. Reasons given tend to be either that the Haitian government is corrupt or incompetent, that the Haitian people are disorganised, or that development agencies simply are not responding adequately. Millions of dollars sent by the international community appearing to be falling into a black hole.
On Monday I arrived in Port-au-Prince to conduct the next phase of my project with Dr. Heather Horst and Dr. Espelencia Baptiste on mobile phones, money, and movement of people in Haiti. Last year we were researching the flow remittances around the country. Since we left, Digicel and Voilá have both launched mobile money services (TchoTcho Mobile and T-Cash respectively). We're back to witness the rollout and see how people are using it.
Wednesday 12th January marked the one year anniversary since the Haiti earthquake. Port-au-Prince is still a mess: little rebuilding has been done, and thousands of people are sti.ll living in makeshift camps where cholera poses a grave threat. An anthropology blog called Savage Minds is posting a 'Reflections on Haiti' series this week to address the continuing nature of the crisis.
On the 25th and 26th of March, 2011, the Anthropology department at the University of Sydney hosted a symposium called 'Anthropology and the Ends of Worlds'. Presenters spoke about a range of topics related to perceptions of the world's condition and fa in a range of cultures around the world. Traditional cosmological concerns were joined by a range of contemporary issues including climate change, natural disasters, and political/economic instability. The refereed proceedings from the symposium are now available online.