20 months have passed since the earthquake and little has changed in Port-au-Prince. Try to imagine living in a tent, on the street, for almost two years, through hurricane seasons and trying to raise your family there. Struggling to find enough for them to eat, to wear, to have. In a world where an empty soda bottle becomes a toy and filling pot holes with rocks for tips becomes self-employment, you would expect to find people to be scowled and grim.
On the contrary, it is actually one of my favorite things about walking the streets of Port-au-Prince; saying “Bonjour!” to anyone on the street will always be returned with a Bonjour!, a big toothy grin and a wave. Women doing their laundry in a basin on the road, shy children in rags and car tinkering men will always, always smile and seem amused by the exchange with the blan (white person).
Haitians resilience and strength is admirable, they have adapted to their new lives as a means of survival and they are survivors. I hope that what our project brings to Haitians is proof that there really is something to smile about; the joy of not just surviving but beginning to live again. Value in not just food, water and medicine but also in preserving the art of a culture, the creative learning in a student and the whimsy of just being a kid!
Thank you to all of our supporters and sponsors for making this project possible!