Sunday, September 26, 2010

Storm in Haiti

Every day we check the National Hurricane Center website for new tropical storms and hurricanes, knowing that we'll at least have a few days to prepare the camps and their residents. With nothing on the radar, this afternoon we were taken by complete surprise when at 3:00 the sun was shining - at 3:05 the sky turned green and wind, rain, thunder and lightning like I have never experienced anywhere before hit.

The wind sheered many of the few big trees that are left in Port au Prince, landing on streets, buildings, and tents. Worse yet, it blew tents and new shelters apart like they were made of paper towels. One of the camps in which we work lost 80% of the tents and structures and we lost many common area buildings in another camp.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Most days in Haiti you can see joy on the faces of children or hear the giggles and shouts of fun. When you look closer you can see they are very creatively playing with plastic bags tied to sticks, plastic bottles as footballs or using rocks for marbles. Thanks to the generosity of some students at the University of Minnesota and the ARC Children’s Program the kids at several of the camps American Refugee Committee manages are also able to enjoy beautiful, handmade kites.

The ARC Children’s Program at Terrain Acra currently has over 900 kids enrolled. The staff does an excellent job of keeping the kids busy with lots of activities including painting, singing, and dancing. I happened to be there on Friday and noticed the kites were out. Unfortunately there was no wind so there weren’t many kites flying but the kids didn’t seem to care. They were just excited about the possibility.