Last Wednesday, January 12 marked a year since Haiti was struck by its devastating earthquake. We recommend checking out The Big Picture’s amazing photo essay about where the country is now. Although there are images of great beauty and triumph, it is clear that great need exists in all quarters there. Witness the photos above of the same neighborhood, before and after.
Even more vivid is Haiti-born writer Edwidge Danticat’s beautifully written and nuanced Comment in this weeks New Yorker, called A Year and A Day (The brief, potent, layered piece will available online to non-subscribers for only a short time.).
“In Haiti, people never really die,” my grandmothers said when I was a child, which seemed strange, because in Haiti people were always dying. They died in disasters both natural and man-made. They died from political violence. They died of infections that would have been easily treated elsewhere. They even died of chagrin, of broken hearts. But what I didn’t fully understand was that in Haiti people’s spirits never really die. This has been proved true in the stories we have seen and read during the past year, of boundless suffering endured with grace and dignity: mothers have spent nights standing knee-deep in mud, cradling their babies in their arms, while rain pounded the tarpaulin above their heads; amputees have learned to walk, and even dance, on their new prostheses within hours of getting them; rape victims have created organizations to protect other rape victims; people have tried, in any way they could, to reclaim a shadow of their past lives.
Then, Danticut goes on to describe the very real danger of a spreading cholera epidemic.
It made us realize that out-of-sight has, indeed, meant out-of-mind. We donated money when the earthquake happened, and ran some posts, and then, like many people, moved on to other things.
A year ago,we reported on Doctors Without Borders’ heroic efforts in the aftermath of the earthquake. Checking their site today, they report that “Despite Massive Aid Response, Significant Needs Remain One Year After Quake”. They need money to continue their work there, as do other relief organizations.
It’s time to re-up our awareness and concern. We’re going to donate again to Doctors Without Borders (who we know are doing a lot with their resources). Here’s Charity Navigator’s recommendations of other relief organizations working in Haiti.
Want to help?