Saturday, January 30, 2010

Last Day in Haiti

Photos: (top to bottom: 1) drilling a well, 2) Fistun, and 3) little girl leaving in the settlement with ARC relief worker Shannon)

Yesterday was my last day in Haiti. I decided that rather than fly out to Santo Domingo, I wanted to see how our team was doing at our settlement in Fond Parisien (an hour's drive east of Port-Au-Prince). I'm glad I did.

When I left our team there, we were putting up the first tents for the settlement and digging the latrines. So much has happened since:
*84 people have moved into the settlement, patients recovering from injuries and their families.
*There is a mobile health clinic that comes to the camp each day to check on patients recovering
*A well was being dug into the aquifer to provide the people with clean water.
*More and more tents were going up all the time.
*Each family had a kit of essentials like soap, diapers, a basin and other items.
*And we distributed food for everyone living in the camp while I was there = beans, sardines, rice, biscuits, Plumpy Nut, and more.

The people living there were all happy that they had the things they needed and a space of their own.

I'm glad, because all of these people have been through terrible things. I met one young man in the camp named Fistun.

Fistun had arrived at the camp the night before. He lost his family to the earthquake. He accompanied his mother, who was injured, to the clinic nearby our settlement. His mother wasn't able to recover and she passed away at the clinic. Fistun then came to live at our settlement.

When he came to the settlement, Fistun cried for hours in his tent. The women in the settlement were finally able to calm him.

Fistun has already started to make the settlement more like home. He was fixing up his tent when I met him, and he had hung up some paintings he painted inside. One of the women asked him how he was doing. He said "petit-petit" better.

This is why we're here - to help Haitians like Fistun recover from the earthquake, physically and mentally.

Thanks so much for following me on my first emergency response. I hope my reflections helped give you an idea of the issues Haitians are dealing with. The Haiti recovery effort will last for years. If you'd like to support the American Refugee Committee's efforts, go online to and click donate.

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