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A Many-year-old Young Country

 

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Five years after the earthquake that shook Haiti

12/01/2015: Haiti - Photo gallery

January 12, 2010. Five years have gone by since this event marked the history of Haiti, an earthquake that shook the land and the soul of these people who are so alive, always ready to struggle and hope.

Five years after this experience, we offer you an update on the rebirth of these people.

 

A young country

Haiti is an overwhelmingly young country. Most of its inhabitants have not reached 35 years of age. Even though it was the first Latin American country to achieve independence, it is also one of the countries that is furthest behind in terms of economic, political and social development. That is why we can say it is a many-year-old young country. 

Port-au-Prince, the city that directly suffered the earthquake of 2010, has been gradually recovering. Many buildings have been reconstructed. There is not much debris left in the city, and all the refugee camps have virtually closed. The infrastructure of the country is slowly being repaired. People are doing their best regarding economy and social development, despite strong economic and political interests that impede any attempt to move forward.

 

We need food!

International aid after the earthquake was swift, and the Marist community did not fall behind in this regard. Many Provinces sent their support, either through Rome, the Province of Western Mexico, or directly to Haiti.

Even though the region where the brothers live in Haiti is far away from the epicenter, it indirectly suffered the effects of the earthquake, because many victims from Port-au-Prince, driven by fear and uncertainty, returned to their hometowns. This triggered a sudden growth of the population in the countryside, with the consequent lack of food, which was the main cry for help. The first international aid we received enabled us to provide numerous families with food, support the reconstruction of many damaged houses, and share our funds with other religious congregations that are present in Port-au-Prince.

The generosity of the Marists worldwide also allowed us to make some repairs and improvements to our facilities, such as the construction of a multipurpose room at the School of the Nativity, the renovation of the roof in Fatima School, and the construction of a dining room in Alexandre Dumas School. We started constructing a community center in Jérémie, which will promote the formation of young people and children in the region.

In order to help the so-called “restavec” children (Creole for “qui reste avec” = “that stays with”), who have no opportunity to study, Brother Laurent and a group of teachers opened a special evening school aiming to help them join the official school. These children lost their families, and are under the care of another family that should look after them, but sometimes they are literally turned into little slaves.

 

We keep dreaming

The Marist Sector of Haiti is still dreaming. We dream about a Sector run by Haitian Marists. There are currently 18 brothers in our Sector (1 from Canada, 5 from Mexico, and 12 from Haiti). Five of the Haitian brothers are still in formation at the scholasticate of Guadalajara (Mexico). We have three novices and seven postulants.

We dream about forming young leaders in our schools, who may be able to bring positive changes to their society. 

We dream about training professionals in education and other areas who can transform reality by educating and evangelizing their people. 

We dream about Haiti as a renewed, fulfilled, hopeful, free and truly independent country.

We believe this is also the dream of the God of Life, and we are willing to keep fighting for it, so that everyone may have Life and have it in abundance.

______________

Bro. Luis Henrique Rodrígues

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