Saturday, June 25, 2005

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Haiti: Contrast between incredible beauty and extreme povety.

Most Haitians bathe in the polluted rivers in Haiti.

Haiti is truly beautiful.

The biggest surprise I encounted in Haiti was the amount of poverty everywhere. When I landed in Cap Haitian, it was a 3 hour drive to Fort Liberte on the worst roads you can imagine. I saw nothing but poverty. It is not random at all, it is EVERYWHERE. The majority of people have no running water, and no electricity.

The conditions are truly horrible. Fr. Jean and I spent 3 days and 2 nights with Bishop Chibly Langlois from the Diocese of Fort Liberte. Even at Bishop Chibly's residence in Fort Liberte, there is only cold running water. Electricity is available for only a few hours each day. Generators are used for electricity at most times during the day and early evening. At the Bishop's residence, which is like a palace to most Haitians, there are no washing machines, no dishwashers, and no air conditioning. There are screens on the windows, but it is impossible to keep the bugs out. At the many rectories that Fr. Jean and I visited, most had no running water. There were toilets, but you had to use buckets of water to flush them. This water had to be retrieved from a well.

Can you imagine going one day in Florida with out any electricity or running water? The temperature and climate in June is very similar to Tampa. Imagine walking miles to haul water to your home (Haitians haul 5 gallon buckets on their head!). Imagine hauling enough water to drink, wash your dishes, flush your toilets (if you lucky to have one), and wash yourself. Imagine no way to keep bugs out of your home. All food must be covered at all times. Imagine no refridgerator, no oven, stove or microwave. Imagine no television! This is daily life for 98% of all Haitians.

The people of Haiti need your help. Education is the key to changing the dire conditions of the helplessness most Hatians can't help but feel. See below for how you can help.


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