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DIARY HAITI/ 15. The children are the real motor for building the future

The diary from Fiammetta, an AVSI worker in Haiti continues with an update on the aftermath of the earthquake, cholera and political crises, and a look at the upcoming school and work year.

(photo ANSA) (photo ANSA)

Dear friends,

For some time I have been waiting for an opportunity to write to you and update you on the situation in Haiti. I have been thinking about everything that has been done and is being done and how much your help and support have been important to completing everything. This summer is finally the perfect moment for an update.

For us as well as for you, these summer months are a sort of long preparation for the September reentry, and for picking up our activities and civil life again.

The January 12, 2010 earthquake is still the turning point of our story here in Haiti, the indelible mark in every heart, the loved ones we lost, and the suffering that has been with us in the long months afterwards is a mark that is not possible to erase, and which none of us would wish to erase. The feeling shared by the Haitians—and those like us who feel themselves forever connected to this people with ties of friendship and destiny—is that of not wishing to “turn the page”, to “rebuild” what was there before, as though reproducing the situation from before the earthquake could annul the effects. No. We want to continue, to go forward, to get up again after January 12 and continue walking, to “build” something new, not to “rebuild” what was there before, to build a future that takes into account our past history and our present feelings.

These considerations, thought out by our Haitian colleagues and collected in thousands of different forms in many brief every-day conversations after the catastrophe, convinced us to consider the situation and our role in it with particular attention. We strongly desire that the actions of AVSI be rooted in the path of the community where we have been operating for years and with which we would like to share the journey.

The choices that follow are important from a strategic point of view, but are also a point of reference in everyday life. 

As you know, for the first three months of 2010, we dedicated ourselves almost exclusively to the emergency, responding to basic needs, and the recipients of our actions were exclusively those who were collected in the earthquake refugee camps. We did not decide strategically to help these thousands who had lost everything first, but they became the first because of a human duty, conscience.

As soon as the situation seemed minimally better, the question about the future became compelling. The earthquake destroyed everything in some cases, but above all, it destroyed the capacity of many to believe in the future, to make plans. After a bit, they began again to think about tomorrow, and especially about their children. The minors, often the victims of grave neglect, in many cases were the motor that caused the adults to look to the future once again, and to think about tomorrow for their children.

Therefore, the activities of AVSI in response to the disaster have focused largely on addressing the needs of children. The community asked for this, showing great worry for their little ones, and AVSI wanted to provide a concrete sign of sharing and hope by helping them build a response to these problems.