What looks different in Haiti now

The following is a report from World Concern’s Jacinta Tegman, who is in Haiti this week with a team from the Seattle area:

A Hatian boy outisde his newly repaired home.
A smiling young boy outside his newly repaired home in Port-au-Prince.

It has been almost four months since I was last in Haiti. When I was here in early March the city of Port au Prince was just ending a critical response phase. Some streets were impassable because of rubble. Very little business had started up. Schools were not in session and the normal hustle and bustle of the city was missing. I think the Haitians were still in a state of shock. As a part of World Concern, I was able to see the transition from phase one — meeting the immediate needs of water, food, shelter, and family reunification — to the road ahead of rebuilding lives

I can really tell a difference in the city since March. Much of the rubble has been cleared and there are signs of construction everywhere. Lots of street vendors are out, school children in their uniforms rush to class, and the remaining piles of rubble have become part of the city landscape.

As difficult a time as the people have had, there is little room for prolonged grief as little ones still need to be fed, work must be sought out, and the very real need of adequate housing is reaching a critical stage. We drove by camp after camp of tents, and the tents look like they can’t survive much longer.

The road ahead to sustainable recovery is a long one. Yet, even now I see signs of progress and for these people progress is made one small step at a time. When I was here in March, World Concern’s Cash for Work program was in a pilot stage. A few small groups were clearing the rubble of where they once lived, earning a salary to provide for their families and gaining hope that they would be able to leave the tent camps. Now World Concern employs 2,100 workers. Not only have massive amounts of rubble been cleared but homes have been made habitable and new, safer homes are being built.

Is there more to do? Absolutely! But I am so thankful for what has already been accomplished. When I looked into the eyes of a little boy standing outside of his newly repaired home, I know that there is hope in Haiti. In the middle of all this tragedy hope shines brightly. It takes so many to make this possible and I am profoundly grateful that I can say to these people that despite all the challenges they face, people are praying for them, people are giving to help them, and we will walk with them all the way through to full recovery. Isn’t that what Jesus sent us to do? I am so privileged to represent so many that have given to relieve their suffering. God bless you for your compassion.

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Cathy Herholdt

Cathy Herholdt

Cathy Herholdt is World Concern's Marketing and Communications Director. With a background in journalism, Cathy honed her writing skills as a newspaper editor and now enjoys sharing the inspiring stories of those World Concern serves. She has served with World Concern since 2010.

2 thoughts on “What looks different in Haiti now”

  1. Jacinta, I can appreciate your words in regards to Haiti, but I just returned from there and I see it differently. I know World Concern is a non profit organization, but the millions of dollars donated by Americans and many other countries around the world through the Red Cross, Unicef, etc, should show much, much, more progress in that country. Most of my time was spent in Laogane, a city without power, water, and piles and piles of cement debris eveywhere. Garbage is in the streets. There seems to be no containers to throw waste or garbage, and no trash pick up, so it is thrown in the streets. Is this normal living in Haiti? The house we stayed in had no electricity, plumbing, or water. I realize that this is a third world country, but I also saw the new construction of a beautiful mayors house in a particular city that was absolutely magnificent. And just outside of the gates of this mansion,was, rows and rows of tents, etc. How repulsive. This is what makes it difficult for Americans to donate. You don’t know where the money is going and who you can trust!

    1. Darrell, thanks for your comment. Many people share your concerns. Here’s a different perspective from another one of our staff members who has spent time in Haiti recently: http://humanitarian.worldconcern.org/2010/07/why-we-won%E2%80%99t-give-up-on-haiti/
      You’re right, the work is slow, for multiple reasons, but considering the conditions in Haiti before the earthquake, progress is being made.
      You can read more about what World Concern is focusing on in Haiti at http://www.worldconcern.org/disasters/haiti

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