Voice from Haiti: Resilience in a Battered Nation

Action Against Hunger's Lucile Grosjean reports from Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
ACF-Haiti, courtesy: L. Grosjean.

I’m witnessing something amazing in the Croix Deprez neighborhood of Port-au-Prince. Despite having lost everything, including loved ones, people here are pulling together for their community and their nation.

I met Serge Felix, a young 30-year-old father, today. Luckily, Serge was at the barber shop when the earthquake hit. His house was completely destroyed, and had he been at home, he may not be alive today. With his head still half shaven from that fateful day, he told me:

“The clothes that I was wearing are the only things I have. I want to find a job to meet the needs of my family, and to make my contribution to those in need. Before the earthquake, I wanted to leave my country in order to do a Masters in Human Sciences, and then find work. Now everything has changed. I have solid training, I already have 10 years professional experience; I can help my country. So, without question, I must stay here to help. I am ready for anything now.”

True to his word, Serge is pitching in to Action Against Hunger’s emergency relief efforts. He has already helped install a water point near a camp for earthquake survivors in Croix Deprez and is also distributing water to his fellow community members.

The same sense of unity can be felt in Gonaïves, a city five hours north of Port-au-Prince that had only barely begun to recover from the cyclones of 2008 when the earthquake struck the capital last week. Gonaïves residents are refusing to lose hope and are giving everything they can to those worse off. Gifts of clothes, toys and tools have poured in to our local office.

This remarkable generosity and feeling of national solitary, in the face of incredible adversity, gives me hope in a country so crippled by tragedy.