Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Driving to town is always a deep and incredible experience

I have already spent a week here in Haiti. The week has passed extremely quickly, helping to get our programmes working and struggling with communication lines to the outside world.

Indeed time has passed by so quickly that I am not sure if I have really registered situation all around where I am. At the moment I feel somehow torn between two parallel different worlds. The first world is the relatively safe and secure children´s village here and the second tragedy immediately outside in Port-au-Prince and the villages around. Therefore every time I leave the village and drive into town has become a deep and moving experience.

Part of me still cannot believe, however often I see it, that this could be possible. But life is going on in town, and there you also have two parallel worlds. On the one hand extreme hardships in the refuge camps, eyes which look at you without hope, and on the other the first open shops and there are even people going to the barber or even washing their car. Perhaps this is just their way of coping with the situation and reaching for at least a little normality.

Normality is also important for the children and their families, it is part of recovery. That´s why here in Santo we have opened our social center again and have young children even coming to the Kindergarten in the morning. We also have restarted our family strengthening programs in our community centers. This network of community centres will give a lot of families on the edge access to food, medicine and also to things like day care for children, to allow parents time to rebuild or start earning some sort of living.

In the village we are busy preparing for the admission of more unaccompanied children in our safe shelter. So far over 20 are already here and every day more arrive. Together with other NGO´s we are wokring to find the most vulnerable children, young and alone. The registration process done by other organizations is still ongoing. And our  relief workers are out working in the refuge camps of Port-au-Prince to help the children still there in immediate need.

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