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DIARY HAITI / Fiammetta: we get no peace from the aftershocks, but a blue tent already seems to be a new home ...

January Fri 22, 2010

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A letter by Fiammetta Cappellini – a volunteer for AVSI, an Italian Ngo - from Haiti: we get no peace from the aftershocks and they discourage the resumption of life and work. But something is starting again, even if in full pain. It takes faith, it takes certainty, with the children asking the grown-ups of a promise for the future while they welcome the new things that are coming. So a blue tent already seems to be a new home ...

 

The day begins with a strong jolt. I am at my workstation in my home, that is now also of my colleague, who no longer has one, and a base for AVSI, waving to all the people who pass by. Each aftershock generates discouragement, thinking of the fate of the precarious buildings, and it seems that all this is endless.

 

Later we learn that the epicenter was the area of Petite Goave, a town southwest of Port Au Prince, on the road to the south. There, in 2008, the hurricane caused death and destruction. Very often children sleep on the floor and so suddenly flooding has made many of them victims. Throughout 2009, we made friends with lots of kids, with recreational and educational activities to overcome the trauma.

 

Now we must take up and begin again from today, from the new destruction. It takes a great deal of courage now to restart from this place. It takes faith, it takes certainty, but how much pain ...

 

Meanwhile, in Les Cayes, in the south, where yesterday afternoon there was an uprising at the prison, the situation is apparently more peaceful. However, many people have escaped from prison, left the capital and have reached the outlying towns. Les Cayes is one of the easiest to reach; it takes eight hours to get there. This disaster is creating a safety problem because many people at the margins of legality are changing places and becoming uncontrollable.

 

Even those who have lost everything are changing places. They return to their family of origin, into the rural areas. Thus, all the families of Cayes are receiving at least one relative.

 

Then there is a camp for displaced people and there are casualties. There is talk of making enormous camps, perhaps 13, outside the town. As a first reaction, the solution seems inhuman. We will follow this situation, also to be at the side of people who are settled in the two camps which we operate.

 

In one of these I visited a mother, left with eight children, whose husband died in the quake. The oldest girl, 15 years old, participates in our educational and recreational activities and in school support. I went to see her immediately after the earthquake: a tent made from sheets, 80 centimeters high, two meters by three, housed nine people. Today I was with her; they were under the "blue tent" of AVSI.

 

The girl told me: "You were right: we are alive and strong, now we also have a new house (the tent). We are stuck here together, but it is also so beautiful. Only you must promise me that you'll come to see me every day, you still have to keep so many promises: the school and the doll for my little sister. "

 

I promised, it is true, but what else could I do? The rosaries from the Padua prison, the support of university students of Aquila, the many, many who have been active will help me in this.

 

Fiammetta Cappellini

 

In the United States, donations for the AVSI program "Rebirth of the Human in Haiti " are tax deductible:

- on-line www.avsi-usa.org , via Pay -Pal

- via check ( payable to AVSI-USA) to 529 14th Street, NW, suite 994, Washington DC 20045, with "Haiti emergency" in the memo



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