Haiti: An entrepreneur’s tale of corruption, voodoo, and hope

I also heard disturbing tales about the witch doctors of the north, who can create ?zombies” for a price. One woman I met had seen these people claw their way out of the grave first hand. She told me about a man who turned down a woman from a prominent family for marriage. The witch doctors got involved and cursed him (administered a toxic powder which slows the heart rate so low that the person appears dead). These victims are always buried in shallow graves so that they can ?rise again and strike terror into the hearts of the local people. But it’s just brain damage.

Another low point was when we went to visit one of the biggest manufacturers in the region. The idea was to create a relationship where we placed some of the brightest and best graduates in the company. They just wanted more fodder for the production line. It was depressing that this was the best many Haitans can currently aspire to. The Andrew Grene High School wants more for its children and that is down to the vision and inspiration Tim, Gregory and the headmaster have instilled in the children.

After visiting orphanages, factories, and slums, you feel like a poverty tourist when you go home for the day, sipping your rum cocktail and eating your goat curry. My wife is a teacher, and I am a massive believer in the power of education to help change people’s fortunes. The experience also reminded me how important it is to give back. Tim is a very successful man, but I’ve never seen anything like the joy he has experienced helping this charity to flourish. It’s not a lesson I?ll forget quickly?

To help the Andrew Grene Foundation continue its incredible work in Haiti, get involved!

Sam Barnett is CEO and founder of ad personalisation firm Struq and former winner of the GBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. 

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