- Posted April 10, 2010 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Haiti earthquake aftermath
Day Four: Jacmel
This was a difficult day for us as we explored the fallen city of Jacmel. In most of the area affected by the earthquake, the school year ended on January 12. There are no schools. Teachers were lost. Families struggle to survive and children are needed to fetch water and wait for food. But we came upon one school that re-opened, under tents, within a few weeks of the quake. We learned from the administrators that not one student’s or faculty member’s family was spared death and/or destruction. We attended a meeting of local officials with fisherman who were trying to organize and revitalize the small fishing industry. Their livelihood was taken along with their homes as the post-quake tsunami devastated the coast. On this day the fishermen were being provided new boats, each one earned by lottery and shared with a team of fellow fishermen.
Few of the buildings that still stand in Jacmel are inhabitable. We visited two tent cities, one of which housed two thousand people. The conditions defy description. We were invited to the “home” of one of the residents: in an 8×10 space there were two cots and a few plastic bags containing all the worldly possessions of the eight people who shared the space. This is their new reality. And for how long? Walking around between the tents the flies cling to you. The smells offend. The UN peacekeepers with their rifles are unsettling. The sounds at the food and water distribution lines are haunting. The eyes of the people beg forgiveness for the shoving and clanging and short words. Meanwhile the children laugh and play and sing as if unaware of the pain that surrounds them. One wants to believe that there is hope in the souls of the adults as well, but their pained faces suggest otherwise. This is humanity at its most raw core. Transparent. Exposed. At night the heavens console.
To view the full resolution photos, please visit www.eightdaysinhaiti.com