It has been six months since the devastating earthquake in Haiti. Some Maryknoll Affiliates have already been back there (we hope to have something to post from them soon). In the meantime, here are some suggested things to read.
Renate Schneider recommended reading Where's Haiti's Bailout?
Yvette Connell, who is going with a friend to Haiti to help a couple who are caring for orphans who are HIV positive, shared the article below (click on Read more…).
You may also want to view this video from Democracy Now: "When Everybody Comes and Has a Solution For Haiti It Only Creates a Problem" - Sister Mary Finnick on Recovery Efforts
I have been back in the states since early June but my heart remains in Haiti . Last night I sat glued to the TV, listening to Anderson Cooper, feeling so much sorrow as the people of Haiti commemorated 6 months since the disaster that nearly did the country in.
My heart was breaking. Have you ever loved someone so much that you would give your all for them? No, not your husband, wife or kids, but a person you treasure who is suffering from depression and near desperation? It’s not pity that I feel but real-live empathy. It was already hard to visit Jean-Marie (pronounced John Marie) before the quake, one of my best friends who eats once a day (at most) and has never had electricity in his house or driven a car. He never complained though, not even after he lost everything (which wasn’t much) on January 12. He no longer has a home, or a school, and some of his friends have yet to be found.
Recently, as I was recounting his story, someone said, “There’s so much work to be done, why doesn’t someone do something? Besides, if they would have gotten the sin and voodoo out of their lives, this wouldn’t have happened!” I wanted to scream at their ignorance! Jean Marie works six days a week; hard work, in 149-degree heat indexes. He earns $5 a day, lifting pails of broken concrete into a truck—work that should be done by bulldozer if only one could be found. The road is so bad that even simple wheelbarrows cannot be used to haul away the debris. “It’s not just rubble,” Jean Marie explained, “Usually it is full of personal effects, photos, and sometimes even bodies. The stench is horrific.” And at night, he cannot return to his debris-strewn neighborhood or his red-tagged (condemned) room. So he now lives in a tent, surrounded by ankle-deep, feces-filled mud, and about 12,000 others in the same condition. I recently received an email where Jean Marie spoke of the vehicles that rumble by, blaring horns, kicking up dust and belching exhaust. He must carry a handkerchief at all times to wipe away the sweat and cover his nose when the diesel fumes get especially strong. Each night he sleeps with one eye open, praying that rats won’t pierce the canvas and eat their meager one-day food allowance or that robber won’t force his way into the tent and violate his teenage sister as has happened to so many in the vicinity. This is a young man that I love, like my son. And there are so many more like him. I can tell you, when literally millions are suffering, it’s easy to feel like the situation is hopeless and that my feeble attempts to love and show love often seem futile. I recently asked Jean Marie how he feels, how he can get up each day, not knowing what’s in store for him. He stated without emotion that he has no idea what the future holds or when he will get out of the camp which is planted nearly atop a municipal dump but expressed gratitude that he was not one of the 300,000 found under the rubble, that he has been able to find water and a bit of food which serve to avert starvation, and that no major outbreak of disease has taken over the city. He did lose two brothers, but his mother and some other relatives are in another tent city not too far away. He uttered, “Life is more complicated than ever before. I would go back to the days before the crisis any day. We need land, food, water, jobs and what do we receive? Hygiene kits and toothpaste! Nevertheless, God is with me and He sent me you to brighten my darkest days following the quake. How can I not give be grateful?”
Keep praying for Haiti.
St. Marc, Haiti