6 Monate nach dem Erdbeben in Haiti – eine Mitarbeiterin berichtet

Unsere Mitarbeiterin Charlotte Balfour-Poole berichtet über ihre Arbeit in Haiti.

“It’s been another mad and non stop week. It’s hard to believe that we are 6 months on from the events that shattered Haiti. The workload still seems to be as demanding and intense as back in the earlier months of the response.

I came to Haiti 2 weeks after the earthquake to set up the emergency Education programme, in a country where over 50% of children were already out of school prior to the earthquake. My three months here were filled with challenges. With nearly 300 temporary learning spaces established and over 1500 teachers trained on psychosocial support, I left knowing there was still a huge amount to be done, but thrilled that we had managed to get over 45,000 children back to school.

I was asked to come back to work with the Education Cluster (the system used by the humanitarian community to better coordinate and assist relief efforts in conflict or natural disasters) in May. Since then I have been once again working flat out. Every day is filled with new challenges and problems to overcome. I am amazed at the progress that has been achieved and the incredible resilience the Haitian people continue to show.

What struck me most as I drove through the streets of Port au Prince upon my return, was the change in activity. There were no longer hordes of women and children queuing in lines for food distributions. Instead women now line the sides of the roads selling mangoes, avocados and carrots all piled in perfectly towered piles. Children fill the streets in the mornings, immaculately dressed in pristine school uniforms, setting off on their journey to ’school’.

But the situation here in Haiti is far from back to normal. Rubble still fills the streets, buildings continue to hang precariously over steep hillsides, tents and plastic sheeting huts fill every available space. There are thousands of children still not going to school and the rains continue to cause havoc and flooding, not to mention the imminent threat of a strong hurricane.

Among the chaos and visible memories of the tragic events that will forever scar the Haitian people, life goes on. The true spirit of the Haitian people shines through.

Over the last few weeks the World Cup has evoked an incredible sense of celebration and joy throughout the country. Flags are flying high, bunting lines the streets and roars echo throughout the capital every time a goal is scored. The joy and laughter amongst the people here is truly inspirational.

The other night I was asked to join friends at a Bingo/games evening. The venue was packed with people of all ages and all sorts of talent, riddled with laughter, dancing, music and celebration. Yet again I was astounded by people’s resilience and desire to get on with living and enjoying life, knowing that nearly every single person in that room would return at the end of the evening to a tent in a squalled camp somewhere across the city.

The children who wander the streets and camps, still unable to go to school because their parents can’t afford to send them, continue to smile and hope. It is that hope and those smiles that continuously remind me of just how important the work we are doing here is. We must do everything possible to realise these children’s dreams and get them into school, whatever challenge or hurdle it takes.”

(12.07.2010)

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