Friday, 5 February 2010

Letter from Haiti, by Andrés Rebolledo, a volunteer from Jimena

(Translated from, and photo: TioJimeno) This is hell, as someone said. I don't know how to describe the place. The only thing I can say is that everything has touched bottom.
The people, who could amount to between 2 or 3 million, are living in improvised camps, making tiny shelters out of a couple of sticks and old pieces of material. They have almost no possessions, they sleep on the floor and wander about looking for something to eat, drink or whatever. 
It is chaos in the suffocating, humid heat that easily surpasses that of Jimena on the hottest day of July or August.>The worst is that when the rain comes -and it soon will- this could become a humanitarian disaster withoput precedent.

We are alright and doing what we can; Miguel is to the West of Part-au-Prince producing and distributing water, and I am in the centre of the city building latrines. Yes, together with absolute chaos comes the total absence of sanitary systems. You can imagine what this means in terms of related diseases.

But the children offer a gratifying note, as always. Boys and girls give us their innocence, their warmth and their smiles, right next to the work we are doing.

Something important I want to say is about the kindness of the people in general. May this serve to belie what is said in a lot of the media, who go on about insecurity and vandalism. We move about without any problem and receive all the support from the population to meet our objectives.

From this land that was once called the Jewel of the Antilles and has become the poorest, most ill-fated country in America, I say goodbye and tell those we know that we're alright, not to worry about us. See you when we get back.



(Andrés Rebolledo has been a volunteer with the Spanish Red Cross for a number of years. The Miguel he refers to is his brother, whom we know as one of our local plumbers.)

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