It has been three years and three days since the tragic 7.0 earthquake in Haiti claimed the lives of an estimated 316,000, injured 300,000 and left an overwhelming 1,000,000 homeless. The catastrophes only continued in the days following, with weeks of aftershocks. Haiti’s cry for help was urgent–and not left ignored. The international response was overwhelming , bringing in thousands of volunteers from across the globe and contributions from the governments of the United States, Brazil, Israel, the U.K., Dominican Republic, Canada, Italy and Cuba.
The constant news coverage made clear scope of the devastation. Port Au Prince hospitals were overwhelmed with patients, many left untreated due to the lack of supplies. Stories from the weeks following the disaster were unimaginable, especially to those of us hundreds of miles away, unaffected. What would it be like to lose everything you have in life? How can you begin to even begin the spiritual and physical rebuilding process?
I met Jenna Rogers back in 2011, a year after she had worked in Haiti. We were both graduate students at The New School studying human rights and international development. Jenna was one of the early volunteers to the scene and her experiences in Port Au Prince painted incredibly vivid images in my mind. She allowed me to share some below.
I decided to participate in the Haiti relief effort because I felt like I was in a position to depart immediately and be of some small help. At the time, I was still a student without work commitments, I had already received any needed vaccinations in preparation for previous trips, my passport was valid and I speak French fluently.