Jacques R. Laroche

I, Jacques R. Laroche of UCOMB (Unique Coalition of Minority Businesses) of South Dade, Inc., would like to suggest the following ideas for the rebuilding of my home country, Haiti: 1) Adoption: How important is it that American families adopting Haitian orphans preserve the child's native culture? Answer: "Someone without culture is like a tree living without roots." American families and other foreigners adopting Haitian children should follow the following simple rules:

- Learn Haiti's history (if necessary, search the internet, go to the library and bookstore, etc);

- Learn and try to speak Creole/Kreyol, Haiti's primary language;

- Be familiar with Haiti's traditional foods, culture and music;

- Be involved with the Haitian community. Associate the orphan with people from Haiti in order not to lose his/her identity.

- Travel to Haiti on a regular basis (monthly, semi-annually, annually); and

- Raise the child in a diverse community to ensure that the child does not feel alienated, which could lead to serious emotional and psychological problems.

2) Transparency: What is the best way to ensure that the billions of dollars in aid funneled to Haiti is being used as intended?

Answer: I suggest that a board representing different countries, including Haiti, is created to ensure that the monies received are applied as intended, and most of all, stay in Haiti. Regular monitoring and reporting should be required.

3) Building Standards: How can a country as poor as Haiti ensure that structures are built to withstand any future distasters?

Answer: Haiti must create tougher, enforceable standards for the construction of future buildings in Haiti. The United States and other countries should provide a special educational program for Haitians affected by the earthquake to matriculate in their schools in order to rebuild Haiti.

There are vacant schools and buildings that are empty and not being used. For example, Bay Point School in Cutler Bay, Florida is very large but remains empty. Such vacant facilities should be used to teach Haitian orphans, children and adults a variety of skills or trades necessary for the rebuilding of Haiti (e.g., construction, architecture, engineering, building inspection.) After graduation, they would return to Haiti with a guarantee from the Haitian government that they would be employed for this purpose using the skills they learned.