Haiti 2 years on

Two years ago this week I was embarking on the first full month of writing for this blog. I had a few posts that had picked up some following. On 10th January a huge earthquake hit the Island of Haiti.

The world stood by as shocking pictures appeared nightly on our television screens. The total number of people killed on this most undeveloped of Islands where there had always been huge Government corruption and widespread disease and poverty was 0ver 200,000.

I remember wanting to do something in reaction to the horrific scenes and I wrote a poem, which was unusual in that I am far from being a natural poet…. it just seemed the right thing to do at the time. The post was called Poems about Haiti and included a poem that Voltaire wrote in reaction to the Lisbon earthquake  of 1755.

That post remains the most popular single post that I have written for this blog. It ranks number 3 on a Google search for “Poems on Haiti” and continues to show up as hits from time to time two years since it was written.

Yesterday I watched a CNN report on Haiti two years after the earthquake. It seems that there are some things that have not changed. There is still rubble from the earthquake that has not been cleared. There is still huge outbreaks of cholera and there are many thousands living in tents in so-called temporary accommodation. There is an ineffective Government and a few days ago there were protests about the corruption of officials who live well whilst the huge amount of foreign aid that has come to Haiti fails to reach those who need it the most.

There is some hope though, over 700 schools have been rebuilt since the earthquake and the government has stated that education is the top priority, along with health in the rebuilding of the country. I saw a section of a film made for UNICEF by Tomas Nybo which showed a ten year old child talking about her hopes to become a nurse and use the benefits of her education in her rebuilt school to help others to live healthily in the future.

There is much that still needs to be done in this unfortunate Island in the Caribbean. In my poem I wrote (in respect to a child growing up in Haiti following the earthquake):

What will you do?
Survive,
Grow up,
Exist
Live
In that place

You will die there
Remembering what?
Dirt, darkness, the screams of others

It was not your fault
You lived in that place

No.. it was not their fault that they lived in that place…… have their future prospects improved? The jury’s out on that.

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2 thoughts on “Haiti 2 years on

  1. Thank you for sharing my Haiti post on your blog. The people of Haiti are beautiful, kind, resilient, and most of all, faithful to their country. I’m looking forward to seeing my Haitian friends, as well as the infrastructure improvements since 2011, when I return in October. God bless Haiti and bless the Haitians!

  2. It is not their fault they live in this place. So true. When I talk about the hardships people, especially children, face here in Haiti people are quick to want to assign blame.

    On the other side of the equation Haitians seem to feel this as well – one of the phrases I hear most frequently here is “Se pa fòt mwen” – it’s not my fault.

    They’re right, it’s not their fault – not their fault to have been born in such a place, not their fault that there has been such a systematic failure to address the issues which stand between Haitians and a decent quality of life. Your poem is a simple but moving one, just as applicable two years out as it was the day you wrote it.

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