On Monday, June 6, 2011, HGTV (Home and Garden Television) premiers its new series, “HGTV’d.” The network’s website says the show is for anyone who has ever wanted an HGTV makeover and that in each episode an HGTV designer “will arrive at the home of a viewer, surprising them with jaw-dropping makeovers and over-the-top transformations.”
Back in February, however, having read about this upcoming series (while still living in Port-au-Prince), I posted a piece called “Haiti needs to be HGTV’d.”
So, it seems only appropriate, since earlier this week I wrote about the Food Network and its disconnect from the “food insecurity” so much of the world endures, that today I share the February post again and comment (in light of this premier) on HGTV’s own culpability in not addressing the housing crisis so much of the planet faces.
(Please be aware that I’m a big fan of HGTV. I watch it daily, at least when I’m in the US and near a television. You should also know that the network does
support Rebuilding Together—”a nonprofit working to preserve affordable homeownership and revitalize communities” here in the US. And I appreciate this effort.)
However, the network—though it airs shows such as “House Hunters International,” which follows the house hunts of ex-pats seeking to
relocate abroad–does nothing to share how the less-privileged
citizens of places like Costa Rica or Ecuador actually live, and it, moreover, does nothing to support housing projects in these countries—ones that would improve the standard of living endured by the poor in developing countries.
Perhaps, it’s not the responsibility of the network to do this. Perhaps, this kind of programming wouldn’t sell. Perhaps, people wouldn’t watch.
However, it seems reasonable to raise this question—especially in light of the series premier on Monday.
So, take a look at what I posted several months ago—photos of the housing crisis I witnessed when I visited a small Haitian village outside of Leogane—and tell me if you think HGTV has any responsibility to help a community like it:
Like many Americans, I love HGTV (Home and Garden Television). When I go home to the US, I can’t wait to watch kitchens upgraded, bathrooms remodeled, landscapes transformed.
Whether I’m cooking with the ease of Lean Cuisine, laundering with the convenience of Kenmore, or cleaning with the miracle of Mop & Glo, I appreciate the perky background chatter of “Divine Design” (to learn more about the show click here) and “Design on a Dime” (to learn more about the show click here).
I enjoy segments on how to install bamboo flooring at a diagonal as much the next surface-obsessed, granite-loving, domestic goddess in North America. Even when I’m at our house in Haiti, I complain about our stove, our oven, our cook-top.
It’s so small:
—so not the stainless steel I have at home in the States.
But—(and this is a big BUT)
This past week I went with Sara to Leogane, a coastal town about 30 kilometers west of Port-au-Prince, close to the epicenter of the January 12th earthquake. A United Nations assessment team deemed Leogane “the worst-affected area” in Haiti, with 80 – 90% of buildings damaged and nearly all concrete structures destroyed.
Just outside of Leogane I visited a community called Nolivos—
Where the houses look like this:
- a “Desperate Space?”
(To learn more about the HGTV show, “Desperate Spaces,” click here.)
The washing machines look like this:
doing laundry for a family of 7 children
The kitchens look like this:
- a “Sizzling Outdoor Kitchen?”
(To learn more about the HGTV show, “Sizzling Outdoor Kitchens,” click here.)
The sinks look like this:
the community well
And the stoves look like this:
- a “Kitchen Impossible?”
(To learn more about the HGTV show, “Kitchen Impossible,” click here.)
Watching a woman cook dinner for seven on a stove of sticks and stones, I wondered whether Vern Yip would be willing to bring a “Deserving Design” to this mother or another mother in the Port-au-Prince slum of Cite Soleil. (To watch an episode of Yip’s series, “Deserving Design,” click here.)
I wondered whether David Bromstad (the designer featured in the premier of “HGTV’d”) would splash some color a little south of Miami. (To watch an episode of Bromstad’s show,”Color Splash: Miami,” click here.)
Haiti needs to be HGTV’d! (To learn more about the series, “HGTV’d,” click here.)
(and I thought I needed a kitchen remodel.)