Archive for July 2010
Anide Fleureme 24, is a school girl attempting to graduate from 12th grade at Ecole Centre Educatif-Luis Josephe Jamlien this year. She lives with her 2 cousins, 3 nieces and a nephew in a tent in a camp in the Delmas neighborhood of Port Au Prince. Haiti. They used to live in a one bedroom home with a living room, but the home was damaged beyond repair in the earthquake so now they are IDP (Internally displaced people.)
Being older than what Americans consider standard school age is common in Haiti as school fees, work and family obligations often mean delaying opportunities to complete high school. In the wake of the earthquake, this is even more true. Many families are lacking basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter. Students’ families have been displaced far from where they used to live and far from the location of the school where the students previously attended. As a result, in many cases, making the commute and paying the school fees is impossible right now and education falls further down the priority list for many Haitians.
Anide is one of the fortunate ones who is back in school. She was in school during the earthquake but managed to escape. The building is beyond repair. However, the school is now reopened under a tarp just a few lots away from the original building location. Anide lives in a tent camp within walking distance from her school and is currently able to attend. Just like students all over the world, every morning she gets up, studies, gets into her school uniform and heads to school. For her this means getting up and dressed in the tight quarters of a tent camp where she shares a tent with her 2 cousins and 4 nieces and nephews. After school she heads home and studies in the tent surrounded by the distractions that come with living in close quarters with many people and especially with children.
Anide likes her studies and when asked about her favorite subjects, she says accounting. She hopes that when she finishes high school she could go to college, but she says, “The country is broken right now so I don’t know what will happen.”
Watson is one of 36 children at the Notre Dame Des Victoires headed by 84 year old Sister Marie Veronique in downtown Port Au Prince, Haiti. Watson is a 4 year old boy, who will be 5 in August, who was abandoned by his mother sometime before the earthquake. Now he is in the process of being adopted by a French couple, Alain and Sophie Duporte. The process has taken several years leading up to this trip in June 2010 when the Duportes were able to finally meet Watson for the first time face to face.
The Duportes traveled from France to Haiti with two other couples who are similarly in the process of adopting Haitian children. Each adoption is unique and comes with a different set of obstacles. The Duportes have a week to spend with him at the orphanage so the three can get to know each other. During this time they meet with a Haitian lawyer and with the French consolate who tours the facility with the Duportes. The Haitian lawyer examines the Duportes documents and has them sign some legal papers (all written out in longhand). They know they will be returning to France from this trip without Watson. It could be months longer before the adoption moves along and they can return to Haiti to take Watson home with them.
The organization that is working with the family and with Sister Marie Veronique at the orphanage is called Ti Moun which in Creole means “little person” and used in reference to children. The organization is based in the west of France. I could not find a website for them. Watson leaves behind 35 other children at the orphanage. Some are available for adoption, some are already in the process, like Watson and his future parents Sophie and Alain, and some still have parents who need to be contacted before any adoption can take place. The incident involving American Baptist Missionaries who were accused of kidnapping Haitian children in the wake of the quake this past February has not made the process any easier for hopeful parents like Sophie and Alain.
Any editing comments welcome as I do not know how best to edit this down.
Mirlanda Pierre, 12, was pulled from the rubble of a neighbor’s house three days after the earthquake. She and her father Mirto Pierre have been at MSF (Medicine Sans Frontiers) field hospital in the Delmas 31 neighborhood ever since as she sustained injuries which included the loss of her leg and the loss of use of her left hand. She and her father share a bed there as they have no where else to go and he cannot find work as a mason.
She visits Handicap International once a week for physical therapy and to be fitted for a prosthesis leg. Her balance is off due to her other injuries so it may take a while for her to be able to rely on the prosthetic. She is one of many residents of Port Au Prince receiving aid for injuries at Handicap International, www.handicap-international.us, which has had a presence in Haiti since before the earthquake but has stepped up its presence considerably in the wake of the earthquake and now includes over 500 people involved in making the operation in Haiti function. Many of its patients who have lost limbs are healing up to the point where they can be fitted for a more permanent prosthesis. The organization is also trying to help its patients, like Mirlanda be resettled into permanent housing, a process which is proving to be daunting.
Through the ordeal Mirlanda’s dimpled infectious smile and her spunk seems to uplift all those struggling alongside her.