Post Haiti – Pre Nicaragua

So I’m sitting in my hotel bedroom in Fort Lauderdale following a 10 day stint in Haiti and I can’t believe I’ve got a dodgy stomach after eating at a nearby McDonalds.  I had no such problems whatsoever during my time in Haiti and yet I arrive in the States and it hits me!  I’m not upto going out and enjoying the sun so I thought I’d post a short blog whilst I have access to the net.

It’s difficult to find words to express how I felt about my time in Haiti and I probably need to let my experiences percolate a little. The one thing I will say is that the people in that country are hurting badly, physically and psychologically.  Even though my role there was to take photos I like to take time to speak to people first, to hear their stories and learn about their lives.  This was probably the most difficult aspect of the assignment and to be honest, I wasn’t really prepared for what I heard.  Prior to going my understanding was that most people had access to food, water and basic shelter but in many of the places I visited, this simply wasn’t the case.  Aid organisations are doing their best to get these basic necessities to the people who need it but the scale of the problem is overwhelming.

It was a privilege to work with Outreach International during this trip and to see the work they are involved in.  Many of the schools have been badly damaged and some have collapsed entirely, the process of rebuilding lives and schools will be a long one but they have the expertise needed to make sure it happens.

It’s only right that my client sees the photos first so it may be a short while before I manage to get any images on the blog, but I assure you I’ll post them as soon as I can.

The picture above is a sneak preview and is a typical scene from Port-au-Prince.

Hopefully, I’ll recover soon from the upset stomach and be ready for my next assignment in Nicaragua.

Bye for now.

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Time is God

Whilst walking through Cabanatuan City in the Philippines I came across this interesting piece of graffiti, located down a side street away from the main market areas.  I’m fascinated by this art form as it often seems to convey a strong, culturally significant opinion which tends to be expressed by the marginalised within a community.  When I was in the Philippines, I meant to ask one of the local residents how significant this line of thought was and why it was considered true within their situation.  Next time I’m over there I’ll try to find out.

However, a few days ago I was looking through some of my past photos and came across this image again and I started to think about the slogan’s significance in light of the recent catastrophic and tragic events in Haiti. I’m sure we’ve all been shocked and saddened by the events which have taken place due to the earthquake and we can’t begin to imagine the depth of grief and trauma the Haitian people must be going through.  Had this event taken place just a few decades ago we wouldn’t have been so aware of what was taking place until several days or even weeks later.  Now, with hi-tech communication such as satellite and the internet, we’re able to see and hear these events pretty much as they’re actually taking place. I first heard the news when I checked my email first thing in the morning, several hours after the earthquake struck Haiti, but already there were images streaming through the news channels. I also received an incredible amount of status updates via Twitter from people residing in Haiti. After a short while, there was a growing wave of frustration from individuals, not only in Haiti, but also in other countries as the need for aid was growing and little seemed to be actually getting through. Communication is instantaneous, but unfortunately the deployment of rescue specialists and food isn’t, that takes time. It seems that for hundreds of thousands of people, time hasn’t been on their side.

Still, there’s another phrase I’m reminded of……’time is a healer’ and I can only hope this is true. It won’t be too long before little is heard about the plights of the Haitians, we’ll go back to our comfortable lives and the news channels will find other stories to convey. Fortunately, there are numerous aid organisations who will continue to work in that country and will be involved in  the  rebuilding of homes and lives, far after the television crews and journalists have left. Many of you will be aware that I work with Outreach International, providing them with images to assist in their communication and fund-raising efforts. Outreach International has been working in Haiti for many years and due to their hard work, over  9,000 children have received an education and are properly fed. Unfortunately, it appears that many of the schools they’re involved in have been destroyed by the recent earthquake, but they are committed to the rebuilding process. It’s going to take time and they need the financial support to ensure this happens. Many of us will have made donations in response to the initial requests for emergency aid but it’s important that we continue to support the ongoing task in Haiti which will probably take many years to accomplish. There are lots of organisations working in that country but if you haven’t chosen one yet to support, you may want to consider Outreach International.

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