It's safe to say that most Haitians in these parts likely have no idea that Michaëlle Jean, Canada's Governor-General, has been appointed as a United Nations special envoy to Haiti. But when the news finally filters down, people are going to be ecstatic. Portraits of her will be painted. Banners to congratulate her will be hung. I won't be surprised if a parade is staged.
Ms. Jean is worshipped like a goddess in Haiti. And in Jacmel, her childhood vacation city, the story of her rise to represent the monarchy in Canada is told over and over to school children like an aspirational fairy tale. In fact, since the earthquake, much of the population here has attributed the Canadian aid flowing into Haiti has Ms. Jean's doing, regardless of whether the project in question was truly related to her efforts.
I've had the benefit, in recent months, of seeing Ms. Jean up close in Haiti and speaking with her in Ottawa. On both occasions, she was her usual graceful, articulate self. In Haiti, however, something special seemed to come alight in her, and the pain she felt at having to leave the country at the end of her visit in March was obvious. As her helicopter lifted off in Jacmel, tears streamed down her face. In her, the earthquake ignited a reorientation toward the Haitian cause. Her dedication to improving the future of her birth country seems now to be at its most fierce. Although many Canadians will be sad to see her leave Rideau Hall, in this UN posting she has won a homecoming of sorts. I'd say it's a perfect fit.
P.S. Our hunt for Jackson via the folks at the tent city on Rue de la Comedie is starting to bear fruit ... albeit strange fruit. We had a phone call from him this morning to say that he's still living there, but just last night one of his friends from the camp assured us that he and his family had rather abruptly moved out. So we're in the midst of figuring out what's really going on. We're supposed to meet him Friday to get the real story.
Photo: Governor General Michaelle Jean hugs Maile Alphonse during her visit to Jacmel, Haiti last March. Ms. Alphonse lost her mother in the earthquake, who was the godmother of Ms. Jean's daughter Marie-Eden. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)