Thursday, July 29, 2010

Haiti ... 6 Months After Earthquake

Returning to Haiti was not easy. The people still needed so much, and they no longer had much hope in their government or the international community for help.

Soon after arriving in Port-au-Prince, I visited the largest church in the country, the Notre Dame Cathedral. It looked the same as when I had seen it in January, except now some people lived in front of it, sleeping in tarps that were tied to the cathedral's fence. Two of these people, a father and daughter, can be seen above in the photo I took. The baby was born two days before the earthquake. During the earthquake the father was cooking food when pieces of his house fell on the stove, burning the baby with hot water. The baby's mother was killed in the earthquake. After paying for two visits to the hospital, the father said the doctor told him to leave and return with more money for further treatment. Fortunately for him, my American friend and I gave the father some money after he explained what had happened. In addition, my Haitian guide recommended a hospital for the baby to receive treatment.

Since it is the rainy season, the father has to hold the baby in his arms until it stops raining because the ground floods underneath the tarps during the storms. This can last for hours and at any time, day or night. The storms are intense, turning the streets and sidewalks into rivers of flowing brown water and garbage. Mix this with extreme daytime heat and it becomes a daily challenge to keep their environment sanitary.