| AEA March 2010 Haiti Trip Report |

I- Situational Assessment
Front page pictures, news stories, interviews are fast fading away. In only two months, the cruel 7.0 magnitude earthquake that devastated Haiti on January 12, 2010 threatens to become just a nightmare relegated to the past, or an upsetting event repressed into the subconscious. The stench of dead bodies, under the still unclean rubbles, has diminished. International relief agencies are quickly packing up to leave. Marketplace activities have resumed. The streets are once again crowed with people.
Yet, most of the Haitian people continue to struggle for survival. Life is extremely difficult – indeed, unbearable and unlivable by most standards. Food can be found, but remain unaffordable for most. The occasional food distribution at some centers find people waiting in long lines for several hours, and at times with disruptions that discourage many otherwise needy people from waiting in the lines
The rainy season has started. Yet people are still living in tents – some donated by NGOs and the Diaspora, others are fashioned out of blankets, cardboard sheets and tree branches.
Epidemic diseases are not just a threat, but a reality. Complaints of infection abound. Skin diseases all over the body are seen. Kids, even some girls have to cut their hair to cope with various types of scalp infections.
In a kindergarten classroom where we held a medical fair on March 11, the writing on the board above the lesson plan was sobering. First, was the earthquake date: 12 Janvier 2010. This was the last day class was held, two months earlier.

Ironically, right below is the caption: “L’Enfant a droit à l’éducation!” (The child has right to an education!) For the time being the opportunity to exercise this right is still hampered.

A gaze into the eyes of the people, particularly the women and children allows for a pathway into the deep hurt and anxiety of the souls.
What else should be expected from what the Inter-American Development Bank called “the most destructive natural disaster in modern times”?

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