Sunday, February 7, 2010

Challenging Conditions

It’s been one full week since I arrived as the American Refugee Committee’s Protection Officer in Haiti. Our team is extremely tired, having spent long hours in the sun and eating just one meal a day -- a Meal-Ready-to-Eat (MRE) that we make by pouring hot water into a bag of dried food.

Most of the stores are closed, so it's difficult to buy things and find what you need. Plus, the streets are so congested that it takes an hour or more to get anywhere in the city, making it close to impossible to get much done during the day.

Since it's Sunday and many people are taking the day off to go to church, we are spending our day planning for the rest of the week. We are putting together lists of supplies and liaising with UNICEF on what they can donate to the child-friendly spaces.

The teachers associations submitted informal proposals to us for what they hoped to accomplish in each of their zones. We reviewed the proposals and gave feedback to the teachers. We were also able to get some tents from our colleagues working in Fond Parisien, which will greatly help to provide shelter for the children.

There were lots of people going to church today. When driving around the city, you can see services being held outside and many people singing and praying. Most people here are religious and have been praying every night in hope that they will find a way to start over.

Although there are informal markets and shops that are operating, most businesses lost all of their goods and now have to start over from scratch. I am also running into lots of university students who have nothing to do because their schools have been damaged and their papers are lost.

Some people are saying that the earthquake was a message from God who was punishing the people of Haiti for something they have done wrong. I am telling them that is not true and that slowly things will get better.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for repesenting all of us in the U.S. who are unable to participate in the rebuilding of Haiti and the support of its' people. You are all little Angels doing such meaningful and hard work. I love one of the members of ARC but I respect all of you greatly. That's why I support ARC and all of you. BE safe and be well.
    Elisabeth Ward