Today is Sunday and as on every Sunday a lot of people are going to their churches to pray. I don’t know for sure, because I was not here last week, but I somehow have the feeling their singing and praying is louder than usual. The situation here is still terrible. Yes, it is getting better, there is some available food and water, but life in the camps which have sprung up all over Port au Prince and also in the villages around the capital is very hard. Life is packed close together day and night, under really miserable conditions. But somehow the people of Haiti try to find their way back to normality. On Friday the banks opened again and many people were queueing to withdraw some money. Many little outdoor markets reopened, and people are happy to have the chance of buying at least some little things they need for their daily life.
Here in the Children’s Village of Santo, the first unaccompanied children arrived in the last couple of days. And SOS is busy preparing to give many more children a safe home here in our village. The children arriving are still shocked and traumatised, some of them are more or less not talking, and those who are talking are telling you sad stories. But if you ask them how they feel now, at least at that moment they reply with a little smile, and they say that they are happy to be here, and that they love to be with the other children. These are the special moments, where everybody here feels how rewarding it is to help the lone children of Haiti. I call them lone or unaccompanied, and not orphaned, because given the situation here it will be a long time before anyone is really sure about their family situation.
We have to give them a safe place, a shelter, we have to help them and give them the attention and love they need. And meanwhile we have to try to reunite the families. I have heard but not really understood is an ongoing hype for international adoptions. In my opinion, given the situation here, it is impossible to be sure of the family status of any lone child, and adoption might not be in the best interest of the child, when parents or close relatives could easily be still alive, just not found or identified amidst the chaos.